Climate-Change Bill: Is It Really Bad for Texas?

Public Citizen hopes for climate change legislation that will direct us in becoming more energy efficient, less dependent on foreign oil, and better stewards of out state’s environment. As we await the outcome of the Waxman/Markey and Kerry/Boxer legislation in Congress, Governor Perry irresponsibly dismisses the issue with outrageous arguments to scare up more votes for the upcoming governor’s race.

In a speech that New York Times reporter John Rudolf described as fiery, Governor Perry addressed the climate-change bill passed by the U.S. House of Representative in June. The Waxman-Markey bill is now facing great opposition by many Republicans ,along with some conservative Democrats, while being debated in the Senate.

Perry anticipates that the “misguided” piece of legislation, as he describes it, will wreak economic disaster on the state. “Between 200,000 and 300,000 Texans who today work to supply the rest of America with energy would find themselves out of work,” said the governor. But these numbers do not conform with the numbers given out by Martin Huber, the Deputy Comptroller of the State of Texas. Perry’s numbers are more than a hundred thousand off. Both numbers, given by Perry and Huber, disregard what researchers say and boldly ignore the serious economic impact of climate change on the state. Texas has already experienced a devastating drought this year which has negatively impacted the agriculture of the state.

Texas needs some fundamental change in terms of energy production. In addition, a recent study conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Boston and the Center for American Progress shows that investments in clean-energy have the potential of creating more than 153,000 jobs in the state of Texas alone — about 90,000 of which are jobs for those with lower educational credentials.

Such figures would have brought down the state’s unemployment to 3.6 percent in 2008. These numbers prove that in investing in green energy, the state has a great potential in ameliorating its climatic conditions as well as boosting its economy.