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What You Can Do
Solutions to the climate crisis are out there, and it is very important that you become involved and active to preserve a decent world for your children.
While personal changes, such as using energy efficient appliances and changing your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint is a good start. The kinds of change that we actually need to avert the worst effects of global warming are on a much larger scale then just personal lifestyle changes. To accomplish these larger scale changes we must get involved not only locally, but nationally. Voice your concerns about global warming.
The solutions to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions promoted by the Alliance include:
- Energy efficiency, using the model of the Energy Smart program passed by the New Orleans City Council in June of 2008. The least expensive power is the power that we do not use! The least polluting- including greenhouse gas pollution- is the power we do not generate.
- A shift to clean, renewable energy. The establishment of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) at the local, state and national levels, wherein utility companies will be required to sell a certain percentage of their electricity as power that is produced from clean, renewable sources.
- Innovative infrastructure improvements, such as the Smart Grid and environmentally sensitive new transmssion lines. These will allow for greater energy efficiency in transmission and a free movement of power from renewable sources.
- Building codes that support energy efficiency and reflect 21st century thinking about energy use. As much as 30% of greenhouse gas pollution is associated with the built environment.
Here's a few other ways to make a difference:
It is not enough to understand theory- every month regulatory decisions are made both at the State and local level that effect not only yourutility bills, but also the amounts of greenhouse gasses emitted in Louisiana and whether or not renewable energy sources will be utilized.Watch the money section and business writers of your local paper. We will do our best to keep you informed about Louisiana issues through our publications, such as this website and our Bi-monthy Energy Matters e-newsletter, but your best education will always come through a variety of sources.
2. Study Candidate Positions and Vote
If you want good policies from our government we have to demand them by electing candidates with good track records and strong policy platforms. Louisiana Public Service Commissioners serve six-year terms, but their elections are staggered, so one is up for election every few years. New Orleans City Council members come up for election every four years. If your elected officials are doing a good job on curtailing greenhouse gas emissions, they need your support. If not, they need to be removed from office and replaced with officials who will work in our best interests.
3. Let your Elected Officials Know What You Think
Your elected officials don't only to hear from you on election day. They need to hear from you whenever they make an important decision that affects you. National data suggests that when a member ofthe U.S. Congress receives a letter, it represents the opinions of about 500 constituents. Please contact the Louisiana Public Service Commission for more information. You can also contact the New Orleans City Council for local information.
A good example of this is the inquiry into a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that was re-opened by the Louisiana Public Service Commission on January 14, 2009. This was a very important proposal, and although 33 of the 50 states already have renewable portfolio standards, Louisiana has yet to create one that requires regulated utilities to purchase a portion of their power from renewable sources. If you have not yet done so, call or write your Public Service Commissioner to let them know that you support the RPS! Every letter and every call makes a differenc
Too often candidates are elected to office without thorough scrutiny. Utility issues can be complicated, but you will find out that the more you learn, the easier and less mystifying they can become. If you would like to start learning about the issues right now we recommend Jerrold Oppenheim and Theo McGregor’s Democracy and Regulation as an excellent book to begin to understand the regulatory environment.