NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans City Council voted unanimously today to adopt a Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard, mandating net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and a zero-carbon energy portfolio by 2050. This standard was approved by the City Council after a year of deliberation and filings by interested parties, including Energy Future New Orleans (EFNO), a coalition of local and national organizations and businesses.
“New Orleans understands that we need to take every action to protect against a volatile climate, and that means reducing emissions,” said Brent Newman, deputy director of Audubon Louisiana, a member of EFNO. “We are proud that the council has passed this standard, which sets a commendable benchmark for the reduction of emissions. Audubon Louisiana and the other members of the EFNO coalition stand ready to engage meaningfully to put this standard into action.”
Energy poverty is already a problem in New Orleans, with some customers paying as much as 23 percent of their income on bills. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these costs as extreme weather events push temperatures higher. The EFNO coalition initially proposed a standard to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040 by addressing existing high energy costs for low- and moderate-income households, and the enduring threats of extreme weather and power outages facing the city. An economic impact analysis showed that that standard would be beneficial to the city both in terms of clean energy and economic development.
While the City Council did not adopt that specific standard, it established a six-month timetable for parties to come to develop detailed regulations that will implement the Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard, that may include elements of EFNO’s proposal.
The National Audubon Society also recently released a study showing that two-thirds of North America’s birds will be vulnerable to extinction unless action is immediately taken to reduce emissions and slow global temperature rises, which also contribute to threats like flooding and sea level rise.
“What’s good for the birds and wildlife in our area is also good for people,” said Newman. “It’s wonderful that we now have a standard on the books that will begin to address the challenges facing New Orleans. We look forward to working closely with the Council over the next six months, keeping in mind health and safety measures related to COVID-19. An opportunity exists to drill down on the issues of equitable access to resources, energy poverty, and providing the maximum benefit to the local economy. This kind of change takes time, but this standard allows us to lay the groundwork today to preserve our lands, neighborhoods, and natural habitats for decades to come.”
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Audubon Louisiana works daily to engage, conserve, restore and protect important areas shared by birds and people. See more at LA.Audubon.org.
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