The article “La. coast facing grim reality” republished in The Advocate highlights new data that shows that Louisiana is likely to see “the highest rate of relative sea-level rise on the planet.”
Tim Osborn, the expert quoted in the article, mentioned at Tulane’s Environmental Law Summit recently that the estimates range from 4.3 to 9.5 feet by the end of the century. Given Southeast Louisiana’s average elevation of only 3 feet, we have a lot at stake.
As of yet, we have consistently met, if not exceeded, climate scientists’ worst-case projections for sea-level rise. Louisiana must take serious action to not only adapt to rising seas from climate change, but also to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible.
One obvious way to reduce our state’s contribution to our own destruction is for the state to reject the proposed Ram LLC coal export terminal to be built near Myrtle Grove in Plaquemines Parish. This new terminal would allow more carbon-intensive coal to be burned and its greenhouse gases to add to sea-level rise affecting Louisianans.
Even worse, it is sited on the exact spot that the state has determined is best for a river diversion project that could help rebuild coastal wetlands southeast of New Orleans. The state government is implementing its master plan for a sustainable coast to help protect us from rising seas and hurricanes.
The state government has the authority to reject the Ram coal terminal. Louisiana residents will be displaced with these rising seas, but we have the power to minimize the amount of people affected.
To put its own restoration plan at risk and flirt with dirty coal terminals at the expense of Louisianians is not only unwise, it is reckless.
Tulane University student