In A Flash

Louisiana governor discusses solar and wind farms at U.N. climate conference

By: - November 1, 2021 3:36 pm
Louisiana governor discusses solar and wind at U.N. climate conference

Rows of solar modules generate electricity at UL-Lafayette’s Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing (PART) Lab — Aug. 9, 2021. (Wes Muller/La. Illuminator)

Gov. John Bel Edwards touted Louisiana’s future with alternative energies, like solar and wind, in front of an international audience at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday.

Edwards was among many government leaders from around the world to attend the conference, which was originally scheduled to be held last year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said he was the only Gulf Coast governor to receive an invitation because he’s the only one who has committed to the Paris Climate Agreement, which includes a pledge to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and eventually reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Speaking on a panel about how officials at different levels of government adapt to achieve their climate goals, Edwards said Louisiana has long embraced the oil and gas industry but is also the U.S. state most affected by climate change.

“For decades, we’ve lost a football field an hour to land loss along the coast, and so arresting that land loss and building more land is what’s really important to us,” the governor said. “We couldn’t do that without a partnership with the federal government, and we actually use our offshore revenues from mineral production in the Gulf of Mexico in order to fund our coastal restoration plan and protection plan.”

He said it is important that Louisiana work on transitioning to alternative energies.

“The energy transition is going to happen whether we want it to happen or not,” Edwards said. “So in order to have the economy of the future we want, where we continue to be an energy producing state, we’re going to have to do more things like embrace wind energy. There will be lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico for wind energy probably in the next 13 or 14 months.”

He also said the state is taking an “all of the above” approach that will include utility-scale solar, wind and other projects such as carbon capture being courted by Louisiana’s Climate Initiatives Task Force.  

The conference will take place through Nov. 12. Edwards will attend related meetings there until Nov. 4, after which he will return home to Louisiana, according to his office’s press release.  

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Wes Muller
Wes Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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