New Orleans Releases City’s First Climate Action Strategy
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined city and state officials and community stakeholders Friday, July 7, at the Sewerage & Water Board Green Roof Project, 625 St. Joseph St., to unveil New Orleans’ climate action strategy, Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans, a strategic roadmap for the City of New Orleans to combat climate change.
Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans proposes 11 strategies and 25 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030. At the event, Mayor Landrieu signed an Executive Order to adopt Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans as guiding policy and to commit to the principles and goals of the Paris Agreement. City reps said the strategy will help New Orleans become a more equitable, adaptable and prosperous place for all of its residents as the city approaches its tricentennial in 2018.
View the Climate Action for Resilient New Orleans here
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our coastal communities, nation and world,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “In New Orleans, we face a triple threat: subsidence, coastal erosion and sea level rise. If unchecked, New Orleans, like many coastal cities, will be forced to retreat. This strategy will help us transition to a low-carbon economy that not only helps manage our climate risk, but also creates new businesses, jobs, and wealth.”
• Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans builds upon a large body of work the city has already undertaken.
In September 2015, Mayor Landrieu addressed resilience, sustainable development and other issues facing cities across the globe as part of visits by His Holiness Pope Francis to the U.S. This was the second visit Landrieu has had with Pope Francis in 2015. At the request of the pontiff, Landrieu in July 2015 joined a select group of mayors, local governors and representatives of the United Nations for a historic two-day summit at the Vatican to discuss solutions to global issues including climate change.
In December 2015, Mayor Landrieu stood with 464 mayors from more than 115 countries at the COP21 in Paris as mayors committed to combat the existential threat of climate change in cities. Mayor Landrieu signed the Global Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy, adding New Orleans to the team of more than 7,400 cities in 119 countries worldwide committed to taking climate action.
In June 2017, Mayor Landrieu joined 342 other mayors in the Climate Mayors agreement following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Parish climate accord. The agreement pledges that the mayors, who represent more than 65 million Americans in 44 states, adopted the accord.
Mayor Landrieu is also a part of C40 Cities, which connects more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing more than 650 million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.
The development of Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans strategy was called for in the City’s resilience strategy, Resilient New Orleans, city reps said. Since Mayor Landrieu released the plan in August 2015, Resilient New Orleans has yielded more than $200 million in federal infrastructure and community development funding, along with more than $1 million in commitments from 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) platform partners, as well as additional resources and commitments from other local and national philanthropic organizations. As New Orleans moves toward implementation of the climate action strategy, the city and its partners will be leveraging public, private, and philanthropic resources, including some of the $100 million pool of tools and services from the 100RC platform, to invest in the sustained future of its communities. The city will continue to work with community partners and businesses to achieve the bold, but achievable goals of this strategy—together, city reps said.
The launch of Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans represents the city’s next step toward leading with cities around the country and world in combating global climate change. The vision and actions in the climate action strategy send the signal that New Orleans is ready to invest in economic opportunities through the adaptation and modernization of energy, transportation, and waste systems, and there are ways that every New Orleanian can participate, city reps said.
Deputy Mayor and Chief Resilience Officer Jeff Hebert said, "Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans is an important step to dealing with one of our regions greatest threats. We now have a framework from which to modernize our energy, improve our transportation choices, reduce our waste, and create a culture of awareness and action. Working together we can lead the region on this issue and impact generations to come."
City reps said Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans lays out clear, actionable steps in response to these challenges, focused on four goals to lower the city’s carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030:
• Modernizing energy use by increasing use of low-carbon, clean fuels; making energy savings a sustainable resource; and increasing the resilience of energy infrastructure.
• Improving transportation choices by transforming infrastructure to reduce car dependence; encouraging active transportation; and increasing fuel efficiency.
• Reducing waste via development of recycling and composting initiatives and by generating value from waste.
• Creating a culture of awareness and action by growing the low-carbon economy; enabling data driven decision making; and connecting the city’s culture to climate action.
District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey said, "I firmly believe we must take substantive measures to insure the protection of our environment. It is vital that we continue to seek and implement innovative ways to recycle and generate clean energy, while reducing waste. It is equally important to do this in a way that is equitable and ensures all parts of our community benefit from the economic opportunities this will afford."
District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said, "In New Orleans and along much of the Louisiana coast, we see the effects of climate change on a daily basis. Sea levels are rising and our coast is disappearing. Climate change is real and now is the time to act. This is the perfect moment to reaffirm our goal to pursue increased energy efficiency for our ratepayers and our commitment to improve the quality of life of all New Orleanians for generations to come."
District E Councilmember James Gray II said, “If we are to leave an inhabitable planet for our grandchildren and their children, we must take action now. By reducing our reliance on carbon-intensive fuels and moving toward solar, and by increasing the resilience of our energy and water infrastructure, the City of New Orleans becomes a model for municipalities around the country.”
Alliance for Affordable Energy Executive Director Logan Atkinson Burke said, “New Orleans is in a position to lead or lose on climate. By firmly committing to a climate action strategy that seeks solutions that benefit everyone and strengthens the city’s future, we will lead the Gulf South on the issue that most threatens our communities. We are glad to see the City set this vision and the Alliance for Affordable Energy and our community partners look forward to supporting the implementation of Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans, improving our energy systems for the health, prosperity, and resilience of our city.”
Sewerage and Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant said, "The green roof project is a great example of what can be done throughout the region to not only deal with the water we live with, but also aide in combating climate change. This green roof is the first of its kind in the city and region. The rainwater it captures decreases the strain on our storm system and the insulation it provides reduces the heat island effect our city experiences."
• About the Sewerage and Water Board Downtown Administration Building Stormwater Green Roof Project
The Board constructed the 10,952 sq. ft. green roof to catch and hold more than 15,000 gallons of rainwater during rain events to help reduce flooding and improve stormwater quality. The roof will also provide additional insulation for the building and lower temperatures in the surrounding area, reducing the "heat island effect," city reps said. This is the result of the commitment the board made to green infrastructure to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in negotiating a modified sewer consent decree.
The scope of work for this project included installation of a green roof on the northern side of the roof, installation of a blue roof on top of the elevated portion of the roof, monitoring the project’s impact on stormwater flow, and education and community outreach to include tours and science programming.
The Sewerage and Water Board Green Infrastructure Capital Program awarded a grant of over $360,000 to Hanging Gardens LLC to execute the project.
Other project partners include:
• Independent Roofing Systems, Inc.
• Greensite LLC – soil consultation
• Morphy Makofsky, Inc. – structural engineering
• Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture, LLC.
• AD Greenroof, LLC – monitoring and maintenance Consultation.
The project team worked closely with S&WB Departments of Environmental Affairs, Civil Engineering, General Superintendent, Construction Administration, Support Services, Communications and Security to make the Green Roof a success.