Loyola Chair of Environmental Law Named to Louisiana’s New Climate Emissions Task Force
Climate policy expert Rob Verchick served in the EPA during Obama Administration
(New Orleans – November 9, 2020) A Loyola University New Orleans law professor has been named to Louisiana’s new Climate Emissions Task Force established by Governor John Bel Edwards. The task force will recommend strategies to cut statewide net greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by 2025, 40-50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050, among other issues relating to how the climate affects Louisiana. It is the first of its kind in Louisiana.
Robert Verchick, Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar and Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University New Orleans, will serve a two-year term as a member with special qualifications and experience in climate change policy.
The task force, spelled out in gubernatorial Executive Order 2020-18, calls on leaders from across government, the private sector, academic institutions, and civil society to follow the science to arrive at policies able to help reduce Louisiana’s contributions to global climate change while fully recognizing Louisiana’s climate vulnerabilities and its industrial and economic characteristics.
“Just as we have done with coastal protection and restoration, we are building an inclusive, science-driven process to lead us to solutions to an incredibly complex and difficult problem,” said Gov. Edwards in a news release. “By engaging stakeholders from all sides of this issue in the development of these policies, we will take a comprehensive look at how to best meet the challenges of the future. I know we can achieve consensus on the most important points because I know we all want a better future for Louisiana and its people.”
The Louisiana Climate Emissions Task Force addresses environmental issues critical to the region and will be supported by six working groups pertaining to sectors of the economy, as well as four advisory groups focused on science, equity, law and policy, and financial and economic concerns.
“Louisiana is in a position to rocket into the next stage of energy technology while building healthy communities on a resilient coast,” Verchick says. “But there is not a lot of time left. We have to harness everything we’ve got, including the state’s enormous potential for offshore wind power. Louisianans are already building wind farms off the shores of Rhode Island. They could be building them here.”
Professor Verchick served in the Obama administration as Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 and 2010. In that role he helped develop climate adaptation policy for the EPA and served on President Obama's Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. In the fall of 2012, he researched climate adaptation policies in India as a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, supported by a Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leadership Award. He holds an A.B. degree, with honors and distinction, from Stanford University and a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard University.
At Loyola, he chairs the law school’s nationally recognized Environmental Law program and directs the university’s Center for Environmental Law and Land Use, which brings together dedicated students, inspiring professors, expert lawyers, and active members of the community to study and respond to the Gulf Coast’s most challenging environmental problems.
He is a Senior Fellow at Tulane University's Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, in the School of Social Work, and President of the Center for Progressive Reform, a national policy institute focused on public health, public welfare, and environmental protection.