NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Friday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu released the city's Climate Action Strategy in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions in the city by 50 percent by 2030.
"It is abundantly clear that climate change is a matter of life and death for many areas around the world, but specifically for coastal cities like the city of New Orleans," Landrieu said.
According to Landrieu, the city faces a triple threat when it comes to climate change because of subsidence, rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Landrieu believes that by modernizing energy production and sustainability, improving transportation, purchasing fuel-efficient fleet vehicles and reducing waste, the goal can be reached.
With President Donald Trump's administration backing out of the Paris Climate Accord, Landrieu said it is now up to cities to reduce green house emissions.
"We can see this happening today. The ladies and gentlemen that work in the fisheries industry that are out there every day can tell you that it ain't there no more. They can go to the very spot that they were last week and tell you that unless we do something, it's changing. That would be like seeing a hurricane coming, and we know it's heading our way and just not talking about it because it's going to get to us later and not preparing for it," Landrieu said.
However, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta is critical of the Climate Action Strategy.
"The poorest of the poor are going to help pay for this, and I think it's a regressive tax on the poor, and I think it's the wrong way to approach this," Skrmetta said.
Skrmetta is a major player in the state's energy policy, and he said the plan would increase energy rates. Energy costs in New Orleans are already near the highest municipal per megawatt in the world, according to Skrmetta. He also pointed out the Climate Action Strategy is not unique to New Orleans as mayors of other major cities push for the plan.
"This is a situation where it is all hat and no cattle. The plan is distracting, and it's not what the folks in the City of New Orleans are looking at. They're concerned about crime. They're concerned the economy, and they're concerned about infrastructure," Skrmetta said.
The mayor's plan calls for New Orleans to produce 255 megawatts of solar energy by 2030, which is equivalent to running between 50,000 to 76,000 homes a year.
Skrmetta argues the city does not have enough space needed for solar panels to meet that goal.