Even as the Senate argues whether to pass clean-energy legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finally moving to regulate global warming pollution. One of the leading opponents to the EPA’s proposed regulations, slated to go into effect in March, 2010, is Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA). On Monday, Jindal “and the secretaries of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and Louisiana Economic Development filed objections with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson,” claiming the Supreme-Court-mandated standards “will certainly have profound negative economic impacts“:
There is no doubt this change will certainly have profound negative economic impacts on the state of Louisiana, as well as the entire country.
In reality, regulations to limit greenhouse gases would reward business investment in labor instead of pollution, in new technology and development instead of reliance on 19th-century fuel sources. An analysis by the Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute found that strong regulation and standards would create billions in revenue and tens of thousands of new jobs:
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.
Whereas regulation of pollution will likely benefit Louisiana’s economy, there is actually “no doubt” that unmitigated climate change “will certainly have profound negative economic impacts” on the state of Louisiana. “The letters say nothing about the cost of inaction,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes, “as Louisiana’s coastline is ravaged by rising sea levels, jeopardizing business investment in the state’s most populated areas”:
In 2005, the global-warming-fueled Hurricane Katrina devastated Jindal’s state, costing this nation $80 billion, killing thousands, and displacing a million people. Katrina and Rita caused $1.6 billion in agriculture damage in Louisiana alone.
In 2008, Hurricane Gustav “was the largest agricultural disaster in Louisiana history,” according to Jindal, as he announced the distribution of $54.8 million in federal taxpayer aid this month.
In 2009, this summer’s “record-setting heat wave and simultaneous dry spell,” followed by extreme “late-season rains,” buckled roads and further damaged crops, driving even more farmers into bankruptcy.
According to a recent analysis published in Nature, “an additional 2 degrees of global warming could commit the planet to 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30 feet) of long-term sea level rise,” which would “permanently submerge New Orleans and other parts of southern Louisiana.”