By: India James
At the precipice of character and courage lies an opportunity to change the world. An opportunity for environmental justice, affordable & sustainable energy resources, and a secure economy. Let this be a measuring stick for current and future leadership in one of the warmest, wettest states in the Union – the great state of Louisiana, of course.
On Black Friday, the Trump Administration released the US National Climate Assessment. The Global Research Act of 1990 requires the Assessment be delivered to Congress and the President at least every four years and articulate the causes, impacts, and risks of global change on life and society. One noted impact is the increase of health related risks caused by extreme heat. One might anticipate longer blooming seasons for those of us who suffer from allergies, a heightened fight against disease spread by incests and pests, and increased exposure to heat exhaustion. And, while not necessarily health related risk (for this lady who loves boiled crawfish), unfortunate impacts to farming should be anticipated as well. To address flooding risks, local governments in southern Louisiana are already pooling resources to address some of these hazards. But what does this mean for jobs, the cost of energy, and a continuance of Louisiana’s rich culture traditions?
The short answer is: no one knows just yet – it depends. There is a significant opportunity for leadership in energy innovation. Innovation is bridging the dichotomy between what is and what can be. It does not mean devaluing the importance of petroleum production to the economy nor excluding creative energy development opportunities in wind, solar, and battery storage. Energy security requires collaboration of all great minds with a seat at the table and innovation to create sustainable solutions that are responsible and reflect the long term interests of the communities served.
Louisiana is well positioned to lead courageous conversations around energy inclusion and optionality for its citizens. With an abundance of natural resources and creative minds, it will be interesting to watch where this conversation leads – and who leads it.
India James is currently a leader at a Fortune 100 energy company. She was raised in Eunice, Louisiana and lived for many years in New Orleans, Louisiana. India now resides in Washington D.C.
 USGCRP, 2018: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II [Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.