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Governor initiates new climate change efforts

On Monday, Nov. 9, Governor John Bel Edwards kicked off two new initiatives to address climate...
On Monday, Nov. 9, Governor John Bel Edwards kicked off two new initiatives to address climate change.
Updated: Nov. 9, 2020 at 5:41 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - On Monday, Nov. 9, Governor John Bel Edwards kicked off two new initiatives to address climate change. He announced a new push to try to build wind farms off the Louisiana coast as he convened a climate initiatives task force.

Gov. Edwards says eight hurricanes threatened the state during the 2020 season, with Laura being one of the most powerful storms in history to strike.

“Climate change is affecting us and we have the trifecta: coastal erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise,” Gov. Edwards said.

Three months after he issued an executive order establishing a climate initiatives task force, it met for the first time in Baton Rouge Monday.

“We can unite for a common cause without having to recover from a national disaster every other week,” Gov. Edwards told the task force.

The task force consists of state agency heads and leading scientists on climate change, with many calling for alternative energy sources to limit greenhouse gases, which they say affect the climate.

“Louisianians are designing wind farms of Norway and I would love to see the day we do it here,” said Loyola environmental lawyer, Robert Verchick.

Gov. Edwards says there’s no reason why the state can’t address climate change issues while continuing to work with the state’s petrochemical chemical industry.

“We know we can play a leading role. Our oil companies are re-branding as energy companies,” said Gov. Edwards.

A spokesman for one energy company told the task force their goal to eliminate emissions, which mirrors objectives set up by the task force.

“We have a global mission to reduce all carbon emissions by 2050,” said Selby Bush with BHP Global Resources.

The governor is also trying to establish an initiative in which Louisiana begins capturing carbon emissions and storing them underground rather than releasing them into the air.

“We have the geologic formations in Louisiana to capture that carbon,” said Gov. Edwards.

Proponents say these energy reduction efforts could produce thousands of jobs.

The task force hopes to have an interim report on how the state can address climate change issues in early 2021.

Nobel prize winner and Louisiana resident, Dr. Virginia Burkett with the U.S. Geological Survey, is also a member of the task force. She says coastal flooding has increased five fold since the 1960s.

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