Louisiana joins ‘Race to Zero’ campaign

In an attempt to reduce the amount of green house gasses, Gov. Edwards joined Louisiana into the “Race to Zero” campaign. 

The “Race to Zero” campaign is an initiative started by members of the Climate Ambition Alliance to allow countries around the world to join together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations. 

Greenhouse gases from human activity are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Edwards says that by joining the “Race to Zero” effort, Louisiana will try to lower its greenhouse gas emission to zero by 2050. 

Tyler Fricker, a geography professor, believes that Louisiana is doing their part to help. 

“Aiming for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is the best way to mitigate the impacts of climate change and every person, state, country, etc. is part of the equation,” Fricker said. 

While Fricker feels being a part of the “Race to Zero” campaign will benefit the environment in the future, some students think it could impact different industries. 

According to the Energy Information Administration, Louisiana is number two in crude oil and number three in natural gas production in the nation, and more than 90% of waterborne U.S. oil rigs are located in waters off Louisiana’s coast. 

Owen Reppond, a junior political science major, believes Louisiana does not have the infrastructure to support a massive shift to renewable energy. 

“Louisiana has a really large oil industry […] if you’re cutting that, then you’re going to destroy that part of the economy,” Reppond said. “If you try to convert the jobs to solar panel construction and things like that, then you’re just going to see a lot of people who are just uneducated in that field lose their jobs.”

Macy Williamson, a junior pre-rad tech major, said the effects the campaign will have on Louisiana industries aren’t worth it because Louisiana cannot make a significant impact on the effects that climate change has around the world. 

“China and India have the highest rates of emissions [and] there’s not much Louisiana can do to really move the needle in a significant way,” Williamson said. “So, all in all I really don’t think the initiative will do much.”

Gov. Edwards will be releasing his full “Race to Zero” plan for Louisiana in the coming weeks, and it will include more information on how he plans to account for possible job loss and how he believes this move will help Louisiana stop climate change.