May 7, 2024 - Climate

New Orleans among most improved cities in energy efficiency

Photo shows the skyline of New Orleans during sunset. The Mississippi River is seen in the foreground.

An aerial view of downtown New Orleans from Algiers. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

New Orleans made great strides in the past year to prioritize clean energy policies, according to a new scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The big picture: New Orleans jumped 28 spots in the ranking and was the most improved city, the organization said.

  • New Orleans was lauded for requiring EV charging in new residential and commercial buildings and adopting a plan for carbon-free power generation by 2040.
  • Leaders also helped push the state to adopt updated building codes, the scorecard said.

Zoom in: The scorecard ranks the 75 most populous areas in the U.S. in terms of how they improved energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

  • San Francisco topped the scorecard, followed by Denver, Seattle and Los Angeles.
  • New Orleans was No. 39.

Friction point: Cities need to do better embracing racial and social equity in their climate policies, especially those focused on buildings, the group says.

  • People of color and low-income residents are too often left behind in the clean energy transition, wrote Stefen Samarripas, the report's lead author.

State of play: Mayor LaToya Cantrell has been vocal during her second term about how New Orleans is on the frontlines of adapting to climate change and extreme weather.

  • She is in Canada this week for the MontrĂ©al Climate Summit, according to a City Hall press release sent at 1am Tuesday.
  • It's her third international climate conference in about a year. She previously attended events in South Korea and Kenya.

What's next: The scorecard authors suggest New Orleans expand its bike network, require energy-efficient outdoor lighting and make changes to its zoning code.

Go deeper for the New Orleans' scorecard and full report

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