Release: New report lays out Texas climate change challenges and leadership opportunities

Media Contacts
Luke Metzger

Executive Director, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center

AUSTIN – Texas is both the largest emitter of global warming pollution in the United States and home to some of the most dramatic consequences of that pollution, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “Climate Change in Texas” finds that the state has made dramatic progress in developing its wind and solar resources, but attacks on renewable energy and a buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure threatens to reverse the state’s progress in tackling the climate crisis.

“With a lot to lose from global warming but also a lot to gain from developing our abundant clean energy resources, Texas has the potential — and the responsibility — to be a global leader in solving the crisis,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment and co-author of the report. “There is still hope, and broad public support and technological advances, for cutting pollution and protecting a livable climate in Texas.”

Extreme weather is on the rise in Texas, with record heat, drought, wildfires, flooding and hurricanes causing significant loss of human life and damage to property and infrastructure, climate impacts which will grow severely worse unless the state gets off of fossil fuels and eliminates greenhouse gas pollution by 2050.

The report finds that while the state has decreased emissions from the electricity sector, in part due to retirements of coal power plants, total emissions are on the rise due to increases in industrial and transportation pollution.

The historic Inflation Reduction Act is expected to bring an estimated $66.5 billion of investment in clean energy to Texas between now and 2030, helping reduce U.S. emissions by 40%. But the report warns that new chemical plants, LNG terminals and other fossil fuel based infrastructure, as well as efforts to assign new fees and limits on renewable energy in Texas, could jeopardize these gains.

The report highlights many solutions to climate change, including electrification of transportation and buildings, transitioning to 100% renewable energy, reducing emissions in the oil and gas sector by stopping methane leaks and ending routine flaring of gas, and growing climate solutions through agriculture and tree planting.

“With the state’s political leadership refusing to even say the words climate change, by appearances progress on climate change in Texas is daunting,” concluded Metzger. “But global warming solutions are more abundant and cheaper than ever and Texas businesses, cities and residents are using them at record pace. Polls show broad majorities of Texans support action on climate change. It’s time for our leaders to pull their heads out of the sand and lead.”