Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 27, 2018

Contact:  Sarah Baillie, (520) 623-5252 x 308,

New Year's Resolution for New Orleans: Reduce Carbon Footprint

City in Top 10 U.S. Emitters Per Capita, Mayor Gets Letter Urging Change

NEW ORLEANS— New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell today received a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity calling on her to make a New Year’s resolution to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

New Orleans was among the top 10 biggest emitters per capita in the United States, according to research released earlier this year that took into account regional carbon footprint estimates, consumption patterns and economic data. Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Kansas City, Grand Rapids, Cincinnati and Tulsa also made the list. Mayors from these cities were also urged to resolve to take action in 2019.

“New Orleans needs to ring in the New Year by making meaningful changes to shrink its oversized carbon footprint,” said Sarah Baillie, a campaigner with the Center’s Population and Sustainability Program. “American cities are burning fossil fuels and bulldozing wild spaces, and the Earth can’t keep up. We need leadership from cities like New Orleans to curb the climate crisis.”

The letter outlined three resolutions that New Orleans can make to reduce its impact on the climate:

  • Energy: Update the city’s energy and climate action plan to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, with an emphasis on social equity and racial justice.
  • Transportation: Increase investment in car alternatives such as bicycle lanes and public transit to reduce per-capita vehicle miles traveled.
  • Population: Protect reproductive rights and ensure access to affordable contraception for all residents by working to keep publicly funded clinics open and supporting health education that helps everyone better understand contraceptive options and where to find family planning services.

In the United States, 45 percent of all pregnancies are unintended. When combined with the highest consumption rates in the world, population growth is a significant threat to wildlife. In fact, choosing to have one fewer child is the most effective action to reduce an individual's carbon footprint and saves nearly 60 metric tons of carbon emissions per year, according to a 2017 study.

“The good news is that New Orleans can make a difference,” said Baillie. “It can help fight climate change by making sustainability more accessible to everyone and setting an example for other cities.”

The Center's Population and Sustainability program advocates for rights-based, common-sense solutions, including universal access to contraception, reproductive healthcare and family planning services, education and equality for women and girls, and reducing our environmental footprint.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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