Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand the strong cultural connections between France and Louisiana into the realms of the economy, energy and environment. The MOU establishes the intention to increase the respective parties’ presence in the energy sector with an emphasis on clean energy, and formally creates a French technical expert position for the energy transition to be based in Louisiana.
“I want to thank President Macron and the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs for making this agreement possible and for believing that deepening the relationship between France and Louisiana into the areas of climate change and the energy transition is a worthwhile and a mutually beneficial undertaking,” said Gov. Edwards. “Since we adopted our Climate Action Plan earlier this year, we have seen an outpouring of interest in low carbon economic development projects and other new partnerships that will strengthen our state’s economy and help us do more to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This agreement with France is a shining example how two historic partners can grow closer by confronting one of the world’s biggest challenges together.”
“We recognize that the climate crisis is the key challenge of our time and we will continue to encourage global action by reaffirming our commitment to accelerate the transition to zero emissions. With this partnership, France and Louisiana intend to create the opportunity to move forward together,” said Consul General of France in Louisiana Nathalie Beras.
The MOU was signed by Gov. Edwards and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna in the presence of President Macron.
The goals of the new collaboration are to advance cooperation among French and Louisiana governmental agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector as it relates to the energy sector, clean energy, renewable energy, the energy transition, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The partnership with France will be advanced by an international technical expert sponsored by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and Expertise France who will integrate into the offices and operations of Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).
Once selected, the technical expert will monitor developments in France and Louisiana related to law and policy, emerging best practices, economic, technological, and scientific progress related to the energy sector, the energy transition, and climate change. In addition to working to promote joint public sector and private sector ventures, the technical assistant will also support public relations and education efforts concerning energy and the environment.
“The economic ties between France and Louisiana are already very strong,” said LED Secretary Don Pierson. “They are the second largest foreign job creator in Louisiana and account for over $1 billion in trade each year. As we continue to pursue economic development projects in clean energy and prepare our economy for a low-carbon future, the opportunities to share information and explore joint ventures with French corporations can only increase our economic relationship.”
“Like Louisiana, France’s coastal towns and landscapes are home to vibrant communities and economic engines that can benefit from protection and restoration from storms, sea level rise, and other manmade and environmental factors,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “CPRA has always believed that part of its mission is to share what we and our partners in the private sector, research institutions, and non-profits have learned along our coast with other parts of the country and the world who are facing similar challenges. I believe we have a lot to give and a lot to gain from this partnership.”
French and Louisiana companies and research institutions wishing to enhance their presence or deepen their connections in the two markets and those looking to form new partnerships to jointly address common problems or opportunities presented by climate change and the energy transition should be beneficiaries of this partnership.
France establishes up to five international technical experts a year across the globe. This is the first such position dedicated to the energy sector, the energy transition, and climate change and the first such position based in Louisiana.