Louisiana Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities

Louisiana Climate Initiatives Task Force

Governor John Bel Edwards established the Climate Initiatives Task Force (Task Force) by executive order in August 2020, launching Louisiana’s first-ever attempt to investigate and reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and setting the bold and explicit goals of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% of 2005 levels by 2025; by 40-50% of 2005 levels by 2030; and to net zero by 2050.

The Challenge

The Water Institute of the Gulf (Water Institute) is closely advising the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities (GOCA) in managing a one-year planning process to support the Task Force in developing a final report of recommendations. The Task Force will arrive at strategies and recommendations to reduce emissions through an inclusive, balanced, and science-based approach that recognizes diverse perspectives and priorities on the best ways to reduce the state’s emissions while maximizing benefits to Louisiana’s communities, environment, and economy.

The Approach

This effort engages more than 135 multidisciplinary experts—representing a diverse range of perspectives and priorities—across the Climate Task Force, four Advisory Groups, and six Sector Committees throughout a highly transparent and collaborative planning process. The Water Institute is bringing its expertise in the “Structured Decision Making” (SDM) methodology to set the guiding framework of this process and bring the diverse membership of the Task Force to consensus on fundamental objectives, goals, and ultimate outcomes. The SDM process provides a systematic way to question, evaluate, understand, and communicate the impact of potential policies and strategies on both greenhouse gas emissions as well as other key objectives identified by the Task Force relating to quality of life, equity, economy, environment, and feasibility.

A Louisiana Climate Initiatives Interim Report was delivered in January 2021 which lays out the one-year planning timeline and process, grounded in Structured Decision Making, to identify actions and strategies that will help Louisiana achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 that has been set by the governor’s executive order, while also prioritizing strategies that advance other objectives for Louisiana communities, economy, and environment. A final strategy report will be produced by February 2022. Additionally, to augment the Climate Initiative, the Water Institute has been engaged by the State’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to develop a methodology to quantify the carbon captured and stored by coastal wetlands and associated restoration projects across our coast.