Trump’s Policy Moves Sink Louisiana Coast and Foul Its Air

Louisiana

The area in red is what the state of Louisiana says it could lose by 2067 due largely to high rates of emissions. (NOLA.com)

Last week, President Donald Trump had two shocking messages for south Louisiana residents, even those who voted for him:

Go drown — and breathe some toxic air on your way under!

OK, I’m paraphrasing. But those messages were the factual bottom-line consequences for two presidential actions — decisions that Louisiana’s GOP members of Congress apparently agree with.

First, Trump began steps that will formally withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords. (He’s wanted to do this since his inauguration, but previous agreements required a three-year wait.) Those 2014 accords set goals for countries to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions (largely fossil fuels) that are accelerating sea level rise. Eventually, all the world’s nations signed on.

If you’re like most Louisianians, you voted for Trump, and so you’re probably echoing his questions: Why should the United State pay the price for reducing emissions now if they’re talking about stuff happening by 2100, we aren’t even the world’s largest polluter, and the science behind climate change isn’t proven?

Well, here are the answers.

Louisiana’s own scientists — with the unanimous agreement of its GOP-controlled Legislature — have concluded most of what is now below U.S. 90 is at risk of being under water by 2067 if those Paris Accords don’t work. It’s all written in the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, which you can download at http://coastal.la.gov/our-plan/2017-coastal-master-plan/.

You can see the results of land loss with different emission reduction scenarios in maps on Page 73.

There is no way the world can reach those Paris goals and prevent a Louisiana disaster if the United States drops out because this nation emits the second-most carbon emissions (16%) in the world behind China (29%). And do you really expect poorer countries to take steps if the world’s richest refuses to pitch in?

Further, despite what you might hear on FOX News, the science is proven. Scientists now are warning aggressive action must be taken on emissions immediately or the world cannot avoid devastating consequences. In fact, even the experts Trump hired to study the problem have agreed with that conclusion. You can read their report at https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/.

Many of the most dire impacts listed in that report are not projected to happen until 2100. That’s why residents in other parts of the country tell themselves it’s a problem for another day or another generation.

Louisiana doesn’t have that luxury. The worst-case scenarios for bayou country will happen over just the next 40 years — which means the flooding in many communities likely will become so bad in just 20 or 30 years, the cost of living will become unaffordable.

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

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