The New Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rules - Letter to the Editor

June 3, 2014

The proposed reductions in carbon emissions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have drawn predictable responses from lobbyists and some politicians. But rhetoric won't help Louisiana - we have to face facts. Our state is the one most at risk from sea-level rise. Our coastal problem is exacerbated by a combination of local sinking of the land and global rise in sea-levels. A substantial body of scientific research shows that current sea-level rise is being fueled by the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and that human activities are the chief reason for this increase.

A rational response to this problem is to reduce emissions in ways that don't unduly burden the economy, and in fact provide economic benefits. This is what the proposed EPA rules do. They allow states to craft their own approaches to meeting the targeted emission reductions. Many power plants are already reducing their emissions. The myth of a 'war on coal' by President Obama obscures an economic reality: coal is already losing out in the market place, in part because of an increase in natural gas supplies.

But most of our politicians are parroting myths about an economic collapse resulting from any reduction in emissions. Louisiana cannot afford these myths - not if we want to keep the actual coast that we have. We cannot expect the country to support restoring our coast when Louisiana politicians try to prevent any action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the rate of sea-level rise. Willful ignorance is not a solution for any problem, especially one of this magnitude.

Woody Martin, Sierra Club

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