Photo via the New Liberator
Imagine the governor of Arizona blocking an initiative designed to fight water shortages, or California's governator blocking a provision intended to fight the rise of wildfires. Now imagine the governor of hurricane Katrina-ravaged Louisiana blocking regulation to fight climate change. Climate change that will potentially make such hurricanes more frequent and more powerful. Never mind--you don't have to imagine it, because that's exactly what governor Bobby Jindal is doing. Sad but true. The EPA is set to begin regulating greenhouse gases in March 2010, since it determined such gases to constitute a harmful pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Fearing that the regulations would have a 'disastrous' effect on Louisiana's economy, Jindal has filed an official objection against the move.
Of course, the sad irony here is that what would be truly disastrous for both the people of Louisiana and its economy would be another Katrina-caliber hurricane and rising sea levels. Katrina is widely believed to have gotten the extra strength it needed to become so devastating by conditions made more favorable to Gulf hurricanes by a warming climate. This is not to say that Jindal is actively inviting any such disaster, or that another hurricane will land on Louisiana's shores during his term if Jindal doesn't give up his jig.
Image via Climate Progress
It just seems that a governor should be acting to protect the future generations and interests of his state--which, by the way, would not be limited to storm prevention. As Brad Johnson at Wonk Room points out, strong regulation could be an economic boon to the state:
Louisiana could see a net increase of about $2.2 billion in investment revenue and 29,000 jobs based on its share of a total of $150 billion in clean-energy investments annually across the country. This is even after assuming a reduction in fossil fuel spending equivalent to the increase in clean-energy investments.But then again, there is the climate issue to consider as well: an article in Nature predicts that "a warming of 2 degrees Celsius could commit the planet" to between 20 and 30 foot sea level rise--leaving New Orleans completely submerged. And you can see on the graph above how much a single meter in sea level rise could do the state's shore. The red areas would be underwater. Louisiana deserves a better commitment to its preservation than this.