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Dancers of the Yuan’s Chinese Dance Studio perform the Thousand Hands dance Sunday, April 29, 2018 during the Louisiana Earth Day event held at the LSU Parker Coliseum.

In the spirit of Earth Day on April 22, I’d like to highlight the particularly important role Louisiana voices have to play in conversations about climate and energy policy. Such conversations have historically been difficult to approach, because it is hard to envision a world in which our energy-reliant economy can continue to prosper while we reduce consumption of the fuels we produce, even for the sake of preserving a recognizable climate. Still, advancements in weather attribution science show that heavy rain events like we saw in August 2016 are almost twice as likely to happen today compared to 1900. Anyone impacted by that event can speak to how disruptive these events are to our lives, in both the short- and long-term.

Since climate change is a global problem requiring large-scale action, our congressional leaders walk this fine line at the national level. Personally, I am pleased to see several of our own leaning into the conversation. U.S. Rep. Garret Graves has recently been named ranking member on the House of Representatives committee on climate change, where he stresses the importance of working across the aisle to address the problem and adapt to the impacts we’re facing. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would authorize the development of offshore wind energy around U.S. territories and has publicly expressed support for a “pro-jobs” solution to the climate crisis. 

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Louisiana already has the workforce and engineering expertise that powers our nation and the world, and as the need to lower our emissions grows, so does the world’s population and need for energy. If we are strategic, Louisiana can continue to lead in our global energy economy, even in a low-carbon future. But as long as carbon-based fuels remain artificially cheap, our speed and capacity for innovation remain limited.

For this reason, Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapters across Louisiana endorse H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. We believe it is the pro-jobs approach that our people deserve. Built on both environmental and economic ideals and backed by both Republicans and Democrats, this bill would put a steadily rising fee on carbon and return all revenue to households. 

As a Louisiana resident, I and my fellow CCL volunteers would love to see Graves, Cassidy, and the rest of our Louisiana congressional delegation get behind H.R. 763. We are bringing this message directly to them when our volunteers travel to Washington, D.C. on June 11. We each travel on our own dime because we are determined to solve this crisis.

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I encourage my friends, neighbors, and fellow concerned citizens across Louisiana to read about H.R. 763 at energyinnovationact.org. Then, if you too are motivated to see a bipartisan, pro-environment, pro-economy solution to the climate crisis, please call your members of Congress and tell them so. 

Jessica Schulz

biologist

Lafayette