Industry officials worry net-zero emissions push is moving too fast

Loren Scott

When Baton Rouge celebrity economist Loren Scott gave the keynote address at February’s annual meeting of the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, he not only offered his predictions about where oil and natural gas prices are headed but also treated the crowd to his thoughts on climate change.

Scott basically argued against the scientific assertion that industrial activity contributes to global warming, and that taking such misplaced concerns seriously will threaten Louisiana’s economy and our quality of life.

“We are going to totally change the way we live in this country,” Scott said. “We’re gonna visit poverty on people like you’ve never seen before because we think there are computers out there that can forecast the weather 30 years in the future.”

Set aside for a moment that climate, which deals with long-term atmospheric conditions, and weather, which describes short-term variations, are different concepts—left unsaid in Scott’s remarks was the fact that much of his GBRIA audience, either directly or through contracts, works for companies that at least claim to take man-made climate change very seriously.

Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to put Louisiana on a path to “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions—adding no more to the atmosphere than is taken away—by 2050. The pledge puts the state in line with the international Paris Agreement, the federal government, 25 other states and hundreds of private-sector companies.

However, industry leaders, including some who participated in the task force that created Louisiana’s climate action plan, worry about moving too fast and heavy-handed regulation. Read the full story from the latest edition of Business Report. Send comments to [email protected].