The state of Texas is known for doing things in a big way and polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases is no exception. The Telegraph reports that the US Energy Information Administration says that in 2003 Texas emitted 670 million metric tons of carbon dioxide which would make it the seventh largest polluter in the world. The Telegraph article notes that in contrast to states that are attempting to reduce travel by automobile, in Texas, the governor, Rick Perry, is pushing to get a swath of highway built across his state that in some places would be as wide as one quarter of a mile. The article also notes that in a poll last spring fewer than 4% of Texans said that the environment as one of the country’s most pressing issues.
Although at the Republican-dominated state level anti-environmentalism appears to hold sway, at the local level things look more green. At least 19 mayors of Texas cities, including the mayors of Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, have signed the US Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement. This document includes a nonbinding pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in communities to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Whether political pressure from below will be enough to get state leaders to come to their senses remains to be seen. Clearly the US can’t reduce its greenhouse gas emissions enough to fight global warming if Texas doesn’t join in.