The Green New Deal Would Be Good for Louisiana’s Coast

green deal LA

Emissions in Pineville, S.C. (NOLA.com)

As a resident of south Louisiana who has been told by the world’s smartest scientists that the homes, businesses and futures of my area could be consumed by the rising Gulf of Mexico in 40 years unless emissions are curbed, what is the Green New Deal and what should you think about it?

Glad you asked.

For starters, despite what you have heard from fulminating hosts on talk radio and at FOX News, it’s not a raft of legislation that will nationalize all industries and outlaw your hamburgers, airline travel – and fine farmers for farting cows.

Here’s what the New Green Deal really is: A non-binding resolution setting aspirational goals for Congress to reduce the impacts of warming and relieve some major social problems the country is struggling with. If it is actually approved by Congress, no laws or regulations will have been changed.

Now, what do I think about it?

First, I wish it had been introduced as the New Green Deal instead of the Green New Deal. It’s not that some of the social issues the “New Deal” part addresses are not in need of attention; they are. But solutions to confront global warming are far more urgent because that disaster is already underway and our window for mitigating some impacts is rapidly closing.

By linking the two, supporters have given the fossil-fueled opponents of carbon reduction a shovel to bury the entire package.

And that would be a tragedy for the nation, but especially Louisiana. This state’s own coastal emergency plan — endorsed unanimously by its GOP Legislature — says the key to saving most of what’s below U.S. 90 depends on the world dramatically reducing emissions over the next 10 to 12 years. And the world can’t get there without the United States doing its part.

This resolution is the first comprehensive strategy to accomplish that by addressing our entire emissions infrastructure. By that I mean looking at eliminating or reducing every source of emissions from heavy industry to commuting, to agriculture, to the way we control the climate in our homes and buildings.

Here are some of its main ideas:

–Shifting 100 percent of the nation’s energy supply to clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources.

–Developing energy grid for the transmission and storage of green energy “as much as technologically feasible.”

–Upgrading all buildings and requiring new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency.

–Overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector “as much as is technologically feasible.”

–Removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry “as much as is technologically feasible.”

–Working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and emissions from the agricultural sector “as much as is technologically feasible.”

The authors have set a goal of accomplishing most of that within 10 years – but even that aspiration is seriously modified with the qualifier “as much as technologically feasible” found on almost every one of these proposals.

Read the rest of the article at The Times-Picayune.

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