Addressing Climate Change in Texas

Texas is uniquely susceptible to climate change, perhaps more than almost any other state. Our coastal cities are vulnerable to larger hurricanes and coastal flooding. West and South Texas are prone to droughts, with agricultural areas likely to lose large amounts of productivity. However, we're also uniquely positioned to lead in the race for switching to renewable energy. We're the only state with large areas of both wind and solar potential and currently rank #1 of any state in installed wind capacity.

Public Citizen's Texas office has long been committed to curbing climate change statewide. The most sustainable, long-term solution to climate change is replacing dirty fossil fuels such as coal and oil with clean, renewable energy from non-polluting sources such as solar and wind power. Through renewable energy and efficiency measures, Texas has been able to slow and even decrease its CO2 emissions over the past decade. Throughout the same period we have seen economic growth and relative stability, even during a national economic downturn. Increasing energy efficiency and conservation measures play significant roles as well. Our top priority is advancing the adoption of these and related measures to adequately and effectively meet the climate change challenge.

While global emissions continue to rise, Dr. James Hansen of NASA has called the development of the Canadian tar sands "game over" for climate change. Public Citizen has therefore taken the lead in fighting proposed tar sands pipelines in Texas, most notably the Keystone XL and Seaway pipelines. By organizing citizens and local governments, demonstrating the increased toxicity and spill potential associated with tar sands, exposing the industry's plans to raise US gas prices by exporting tar sands products globally, partnering with private property activists and landowners who face eminent domain seizures, and forcing pipeline operators to comply with existing regulations Public Citizen has slowed the progress of these projects and hopes to derail them.

Victories

During Texas' 2009 81st Legislative Session, Public Citizen Texas helped pass a "no regrets" greenhouse gas strategy. This program instructs the Comptroller to look at how the state can reduce its energy consumption in state buildings and agencies and to pursue all policies to cut the state's greenhouse gas emissions that would also save the state money. The bill was nicknamed "no regrets" because all of its intended outcomes would benefit the state, so "why not"?

Read Public Citizen's Full Report, "Ten Warning Signs of Global Warming."

For more links on climate change in Texas go here