Governors have extensive power to reduce carbon pollution and put their states on a path to clean energy – often with just a stroke of the pen. Over the last decade, governors have adopted sweeping emission reduction goals, accelerated the transition to clean energy, forged regional agreements to tackle climate change, and appointed leaders of state agencies empowered to implement policies to reduce pollution in buildings, at electric utilities, in transportation and throughout the economy.
At a press conference last month to discuss a new report on the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, a reporter asked you whether man-made climate change has played a role in Texas' weather disasters. You replied that it would be impossible for you to say, as you are not a scientist. We, the undersigned, are climate scientists and experts, and can report to you that climate change is happening, it is primarily caused by humans, and it is having a devastating impact on Texas, including increasing deadly flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey.
Recycling rates in Texas reveal one of the more wasteful states in the nation. At 23 percent, the statewide rate falls almost twelve points below the national average 34.7 percent. Based on the most recent available data, only two of Texas’s major cities, Austin and Plano, exceed the national average.
Texans love the water – especially in the summertime. From South Padre Island to Galveston Bay, and from the San Marcos River to Lake Lewisville, our rivers, lakes and beaches draw thousands of Texans every time the sun is out and the temperature is up.
But many of the waterways where Texans love to play are sometimes too polluted for people to go swimming, tubing, or wading safely. An analysis of water testing data from the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) reveals that Texas beaches, rivers and lakes frequently exceed bacteria levels deemed safe under state law, indicating unsafe levels of fecal contamination.