The Alliance for a Clean Texas will support legislation to protect Texans from the worst impacts of climate change. We will oppose legislation that encourages climate change denial or that increases risks to Texans from climate change. We will champion efforts to increase the dissemination and use of information about climate change from Texas higher education institutions in state and local planning processes. We will oppose efforts to constrain local governments from taking proactive steps to combat climate change.
Texas lags in climate change impact mitigation and adaptation efforts. Facing rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather, Texas must take steps toward protecting its economy and its most vulnerable populations from the negative impacts of climate change.
Texas has already experienced impacts of climate change. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service calculated $7.62 billion in lost crops and livestock in 2011 due to drought conditions. This change in temperature will likely cause a 22% decrease in corn yields, and a 15% decrease in cotton by mid-century. Agriculture around the San Antonio Texas Edwards Aquifer region is likely to suffer a similar fate as we move forward. The regional impact may reach losses of $3.6-$6.5 billion annually by 2030.
Another area that will be affected by climate change is the sea level. While many estimates say to expect a sea level rise of two feet by 2050 and five feet by 2100, recent data suggest that the sea level could rise even faster. Currently sea level rise has contributed to coastline erosion of 2-10 feet per year. This rate of erosion is five times faster than the average rate of erosion over the past 4,000 years.
Warmer temperatures and higher sea levels also contribute to an increase in frequency and strength of storms. Storm-related losses will likely increase by $222 million per year by 2030 and almost $650 million by 2060. Extreme weather, influenced by climate change, creates other taxpayer risks. State governments are increasingly liable for the cost of hurricane damages as private insurers pull out of at-risk locations, leaving state taxpayers subsidizing insurance loss claims for homes and businesses. State government loss exposure in hurricane-prone states, such as Florida, Texas and Massachusetts, now exceeds $885 billion, a 16-fold jump from 1990. In addition state taxpayers are on the hook for repairing roads and bridges, health care and emergency response.