The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Texas

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Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.

Between 2017 and 2019, Texas experienced 14 severe storms, two tropical cyclones, two floods, and one drought. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

Temperature

  • Texas currently experiences 60 days of dangerous heat per year. However, that number is projected to nearly double to 115 such days per year by 2050—the second-highest in the nation. This endangers the lives of the nearly 840,000 people living in Texas who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Texas residents nearly $1.5 billion
  • The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because Texas’ economy relies heavily on its tourism, agriculture, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions and are threatened by the extreme weather events and higher temperatures driven by a changing climate.
    • Tourism: Texas’ tourism sector employs nearly 2 million people and had an economic impact of $164 billion in 2018.
    • Agriculture: The agriculture industry in Texas employs 1 in 7 working Texans, and the annual economic impact of this sector amounts to roughly $100 billion.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Texas generates 411,000 direct jobs and more than $52 billion in consumer spending.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Texas decreased by more than 77 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.

Water quality

To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.