It’s a big week of announcements for Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Just days after teaming with the New Orleans Police Department to propose a new pay plan for law enforcement, the mayor unveiled the city’s new climate action strategy. “Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our coastal communities, nation and world,” said Mayor Landrieu in a statement. The plan, titled Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans, features 11 strategies and 25 actions to combat greenhouse gas emissions in the city over the next 13 years.
“In New Orleans, we face a triple threat: subsidence, coastal erosion and sea level rise,” the mayor continued. "If unchecked, New Orleans, like many coastal cities, will be forced to retreat. This strategy will help us transition to a low-carbon economy that not only helps manage our climate risk, but also creates new businesses, jobs, and wealth.”
Landrieu has been vocal in his stance on climate change, from teaming with mayors across the country in a show of unity against President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord to his recent address as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Though Louisiana is often listed among the least green states in America, New Orleans, under Landrieu’s direction together with the Mayor's Office of Resilience and Sustainability, has made massive strides to improve its energy efficiency and environmental considerations through solar power investments and widespread efforts to eat locally.
Joining Landrieu in this plan are Deputy Mayor and Chief Resilience Officer Jeff Hebert, Alliance for Affordable Energy Executive Director Logan Atkinson Burke, Sewerage and Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant, District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey, District D Councilmember Jared Brossett, and District E Councilmember James Gray II.
Concilmember Brossett said that effects of sea level rises are seen in New Orleans on “a daily basis.” The answer to protect the environment, explained Concilmember Ramsey, is in the implementation of “innovative ways to recycle and regenerate clean energy, while reducing waste.”
“If we are to leave an inhabitable planet for our grandchildren and their children, we must take action now,” stated Concilmember Gray. Recent efforts made by the City of New Orleans have made the area "a model for municipalities around the country.”
The Climate Action strategy outlines four goals to cut NOLA’s carbon emissions in half by 2030: "modernizing energy use” via clean fuels and sustainable resources; improving infrastructure for non-car transportation; reducing waste through improvements to recycling and composting; and connecting “the city’s culture to climate action.”
The City of New Orleans clearly pledged to uphold the principles of the Paris Agreement, following the adminstration's recent withdrawal from the plan. Plans within the Climate Action strategy include expanding green roof projects throughout the city, such as the 10,952 sq. ft. one built by the Sewerage and Water Board that holds over 15,000 gallons of rainwater. Said Grant, the project is a great “example of what can be done throughout the region to not only deal with the water we live with, but also aide in combating climate change.” The plan also pledges to reform citywide transportation so that 50 percent of all transportation trips are non-automobile rides by 2030. The Climate Action strategy also advocates for a zero waste achievement by 2050.