Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Texas a Study in Climate Contrasts

The state has experienced epic droughts now it is awash under a deadly flood. It is an oil state with high levels of climate denial yet it is one of the worst impacted by extreme weather associated with global warming. After protracted period of drought in much of Texas that dates back to 2011 parts of the state are now being inundated by flooding. This most recent extreme weather induced tragedy is in stark contrast to the Governor's climate denial.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in 24 counties and compared the deadly flood to a tsunami. Heavy rainfalls have breached the Bastrop dam and tornadoes have killed at least 13 people. Many homes have been destroyed and surviving residents are stranded on their rooftops. Roads have been washed out and thousands of people are without electricity. "This is the biggest flood this area of Texas has ever seen," Abbott reportedly said. "It is absolutely massive."

Over the last four years Texas has had more than 60 federal disaster declarations. Despite the spate of extreme weather, Abbott has rejected the scientific consensus on climate change.

An analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund indicates that when he was the state's attorney general he sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Obama administration over clean air and water issues.

While Texas has a number of wind farms many in the state actively work to undermine renewable energy. Utility companies have worked to turn public opinion against rooftop solar. A trade group from Texas known as CEA, work to support the interests of fossil fuel companies. They have taken their support for fossil fuels and resistance to renewable energy nationwide, most notably to the state of Wisconsin.

Incredibly the Texas State Board of Education has even tried to push creationism and exclude evolution and climate change from textbooks.

As reviewed in the Risky Business Report Texas will suffer from climate change more than almost any other state. This will cause higher mortality, lower labor productivity, reduced crop yields, higher energy costs and property losses due to flooding. Higher temperatures are expected to make Texas the state with the highest climate related death tolls

The chief reason why Texas is virulently anti-climate science and pro fossil fuels is because the state's congressional representatives have received almost $13 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.

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