In order to stop the worst effects of the climate crisis, it is essential that we make our infrastructure and public transportation systems less carbon-intensive. This also means we must increase fuel efficiency, zero emissions and electric vehicles, and shared-use transportation services. Full-scale transportation systems with robust timelines for zero emissions goals can lead the way to a clean and just transition in Louisiana. Again, per C40 recommendations, “road user charging or access restrictions for vehicles can be used as a tool to encourage a shift to walking, cycling and public transport. Discounts for zero emission vehicles and surcharges for higher emission vehicles can also incentivise the uptake of zero emission vehicles”.
Per climate reports, one of the primary threats from natural disasters and climate change is sea level rise and increase in humidity (reference ProPublica account). A 2015 review conducted by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority projects that global sea level rise and the sinking of coastal cities and towns will cause oceans to rise between 3.4 feet (1.032 meters) to 11.6 feet (3.534 meters) by the end of the century. If current greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, it is projected that the average number of days higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees celsius) in Louisiana will exceed 80 days per year. Excessively hot temperatures disproportionately affect vulnerable populations such as low-income families, children, the elderly, and the homeless. This also increases the prevalence of vector-borne diseases like Zika, and places a higher burden on our electricity use and water infrastructure. Louisiana is highly vulnerable to flooding and more frequent and powerful storms, which can damage roads, power lines, buildings, and infrastructure.
We must increase the resiliency of our transportation infrastructure to account for incoming natural disasters in our state. Louisianans deserve public transportation networks they can rely on in the event of evacuation. In the case of a severe natural disaster, we must have viable evacuation routes and transportation that can withstand a catastrophic event with minimal disruption in its long-term operation. To make this happen, we can invest in resilient technology such as hurricane-proof windows in buses and trains as well as vehicle machinery that is more resistant against flooding. We need buildings, homes and neighborhoods that are built to manage water, not shove it off onto another neighbor’s yard. And we must weatherize and ensure energy efficiency throughout every fabric of our society. These recommendations, along with the other demands outlined in this document, can mitigate the effects of climate change in Louisiana. Climate change costs states billions of dollars every year in repairs. This demand ensures that no one in Louisiana ever has to face these circumstances again without forethought or preparation.