Texas Republicans Ignore Climate Science at Their Peril

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About a month back, I wrote about the “Strange Case of Ralph Hall,” a leading Republican whose Texas district was suffering through severe drought—a condition expected to worsen, due to climate change, in the future—but who challenges mainstream climate science. As I put it then:

So here is the strange summation: Ralph Hall represents a state and district suffering from (and highly vulnerable to) drought; global warming is expected to worsen drought risks for Texas and Hall’s district; Hall questions the science of global warming; Hall leads his party in an effort to block funding for a climate service that would help his district, and many other regions, assess their vulnerability and prepare for a changing climate.

I bring this up again now because, as Nick Sundt points out at the WWF climate blog, it isn’t just Hall–or, just his district.

March 2011 was Texas’s driest month on record; 98 % of the state is currently in drought conditions; the stage is set for devastating wildfiresexpected to persist or intensify.But drought isn’t the only thing that’s growing more stark—so is the contrast between these weather and climate conditions that their state faces on the one hand, and the behavior of Texas’s elected representatives on the other. As Sundt reports:

On Thursday 7 April 2011, all but one of the Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas voted for H.R. 910 to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.  One Texas Republican (Rep. Michael Burgess) abstained and one Texas Democrat (Rep. Henry Cuellar) also supported the measure.  The measure passed the House (255 Ayes, 172 Nays), with no Republicans voting against it. They were joined by 19 Democrats.

Just juxtapose this fact with the drought map of Texas, pictured with this post—and the fact that Texas’s state climatologist has warned that “it is likely that drought frequency and severity will increase in Texas” due to climate change, and it would appear that you’ve got a real “What’s The Matter with Texas” story on your hands.

Senator James Inhofe’s home state of Oklahoma isn’t much better, by the way. Here is its drought map.

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