New Report: Texas Achieving Impressive Results in the Fight Against Global Warming

State, Federal Leaders Urged to Cap Statewide Pollution

AUSTIN — Environment Texas joined with Environment America to release a new report, Global Warming Solutions that Work, which details more than 20 examples of cutting-edge policies and practices that communities are using to reduce global warming pollution, from solar power in Israel to rooftop gardens in the South Bronx. The report also profiles positive actions taken by the cities of Dallas and Austin and the state ofTexas, which has become a leader in wind power.

For the United States to make the emission reductions science tells us will be necessary – cutting emissions by at least 15-20 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050 – will require major changes in many areas of America’s economy, from the increased use of clean, renewable energy to dramatic improvements in the efficiency with which we use energy in our homes, businesses and vehicles. But solutions exist today that can get us much of the way there. And communities across the country – and around the globe – are making those solutions a reality.

The state of Texas is achieving impressive results in the fight against global warming.

  • Texas has added more than 4,000 megawatts of wind power generating capacity in the last decade. Once a marginal source of electricity in the state, wind power now produces about 3 percent of Texas’ electricity, enough to avoid about 8 million metric tons of global warming pollution per year.
  • Dallas has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 144,000 metric tons per year by implementing a light rail service. 
  • Austin citizens and public officials are pushing for the development of plug-in hybrid vehicles and enlisting people from around the country in the effort. Plug-in hybrid vehicles can dramatically reduce carbon dioxide pollution from vehicles while weaning Americafrom its dependence on oil.

From rising sea levels along the East Coast, to more intense hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, to increased drought and water shortages in the Southeast and West, global warming will leave no corner of America unaffected unless the United States takes serious action soon. The impact of global warming on other nations of the world also must not be underestimated.

“Global warming is the defining challenge of our time,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “The latest climate science tells us that we must reduce its emissions of global warming pollutants quickly and dramatically if we hope to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of global warming.” 

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear in its seminal report last year that that we must reduce our emissions of global warming pollutants quickly and dramatically in order to avoid the most catastrophic, long-term effects of global warming. Specifically, the most important task of any U.S. effort to address global warming must be to produce significant domestic emission reductions as soon as possible.

“Steep reductions in global warming pollution are challenging but achievable,” noted Metzger, “and we already have the energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies we need to get started.”

The report’s authors concluded that cities, states and the federal government should build upon the successes of the efforts outlined in the report by setting mandatory, science-based caps on global warming pollution, adopting strong clean energy policies, and investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

·     Individual states and the federal government should adopt mandatory, science-based caps on global warming pollution. At minimum, those caps should be consistent with a national goal of reducing emissions by 15-20 percent below today’s levels by 2020 and by at least 80 percent below today’s levels by 2050. Revenues from any program that puts a price on global warming pollution should be used to aid in the transition to a clean energy economy and to reduce the cost of emission reductions to consumers.

·     Cities, states and the federal government should make energy efficiency improvements and accelerated development of renewable energy the centerpiece of their environmental and economic development policies. Advanced building energy codes; strong energy efficiency standards for buildings, appliances and vehicles; and mandatory targets for renewable power generation and energy efficiency savings are among the policies that can reduce global warming pollution and put the nation on a clean energy path.

·     Global warming and fossil fuel dependence should become central considerations in land-use planning and public sector investment decisions. America should increase its investment in public transportation and rail transportation to reduce emissions from transportation. All new public buildings should meet rigorous standards for energy efficiency and the use of clean energy.

“Only bold, science-based action can stave off catastrophic effects of global warming,” concluded Metzger. “We strongly urge the TexasCongressional delegation to join with Rep. Lloyd Doggett in endorsing strong principles for Congressional action on global warming authored by Representative Waxman”.