Walt Handelsman: Climate Change

I am studying to become an engineer, and as an engineer, I am taught to solve problems as effectively and efficiently as possible. This means addressing the root cause of the problem rather than its symptoms, using innovation to your advantage, and above all looking to many different perspectives for solutions.

These ideals are exemplified by the Resilient and Renewable Portfolio Standard (R-RPS), a plan proposed earlier this year to fight the climate crisis in New Orleans. New Orleans is uniquely vulnerable to climate change. Rising sea levels and more powerful hurricanes will result in more flooding and property damage, while more frequent heat waves, droughts, and flash floods will gradually make the city less livable.

Letters: Some ideas to address climate change

Despite this, the state of Louisiana relies heavily on the fossil fuel industry, and while politicians like Gov. John John Bel Edwards say that “we have to be proactive” about coastal erosion and storm preparation, they refuse to address reliance on fossil fuels as the root cause of these issues. Granted, many people’s livelihoods rely heavily on this industry, and extreme government regulation could put those jobs at risk, but the R-RPS is more than just blanket sanctions on the industry; it is a detailed plan, developed with community input, to transition the city to renewable energy in a way that will create new jobs for residents.

On top of creating new jobs, the R-RPS will reduce energy costs for New Orleans (which are some of the highest in the country), and will encourage local energy generation ensuring greater energy independence. The plan will do this by fortifying the city’s energy grid, encouraging community solar power, and investing in large-scale renewables like solar, wind, and hydropower. This plan is the smartest solution for addressing the threat of the climate crisis while preserving the economic future of New Orleans.

Anthony Fleming

Tulane University student

New Orleans