The GOP's Rejection Of Science And The Urgency For Environmental Action
Republicans at the State Board of Education deny climate change and uphold fossil fuel interests.
Last week, at the regular State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting, Republican members rejected most of the science books because of science’s “negative portrayals of fossil fuels.” Worse, they aren’t allowing any language regarding climate change.
This is a consequence of 20 years of GOP rule, gerrymandering, and voter oppression.
Heat in Texas kills nearly 300 people per year as it is. That doesn’t count the increasingly severe thunderstorms, ice storms, and hurricanes. Completely ignoring climate change and pretending like it doesn’t exist will cause the situation to get worse.
Texas has warmed between 0.5°-1°F in the past century. “In the coming decades … summers are likely to become increasingly hot and dry, creating problems for agriculture and possibly human health,” warns the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It predicts that 70 years from now, the state will have three or four times as many days per year above 100°F as it has today.
At this rate, we’ll see a mass exodus in Texas within the next few decades. Yet, Republicans in charge of our school systems want to teach our future generations that the climate crisis isn’t real.
Earlier this year, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that within 30 years, heat levels in Texas will be harmful to humans.
The Legislature this last year was just as bad.
Republicans, with the help of some Democrats, passed a bill that made Texas an oil and gas sanctuary state to protect them from federal regulation about pollution and the environment.
SB 471 by Senator Drew Springer gave the (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) TCEQ discretion not to inspect facilities when complaints are filed. So, even if we know an oil refinery is poisoning residents, TCEQ doesn’t have to investigate complaints if they don’t want to.
HB 5 by Todd Hunter provides abatements on school taxes for new manufacturing facilities. The bill allows polluting petrochemical and LNG plants to receive tax breaks but excludes renewable energy and batteries from participation.
Plus, a slew of other anti-environmental bills aimed at rewarding the fossil fuel industry and punishing clean energy.
Have you ever seen the Netflix movie, “Don’t Look Up?”
If not, I highly recommend it. The movie is about how there is an asteroid headed directly for Earth, and humanity has to do something before we all die. Instead, they mined the asteroid for minerals and did nothing to stop it from heading for our planet. At the end of the movie, everyone on Earth dies. It was all an analogy for climate change.
Clean energy? There are still eight active coal-powered plants in Texas. Coal-fired power plants produce toxic soot and ozone, which harm lung health for Texans who live near and breathe those pollutants.
Then, in Texas, we have the most cancer clusters in the country, resulting from oil refineries and pollution in the state. Some of Houston’s most polluted areas also have the highest concentrations of Black and Brown populations. It’s intentional.
Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to hide this from future generations.
Pretending that science doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. It’s more important than ever that we cast our votes for leaders who recognize the gravity of the climate crisis and are committed to taking substantive action. Our future depends on electing representatives to prioritize renewable and sustainable solutions to combat environmental degradation.
In this upcoming 2024 election, I will only endorse clean energy Democrats because they advocate for policies to mitigate climate change, invest in renewable energy sources, and promote environmental justice.
This is a necessity to ensure a livable planet for generations to come. The urgency of this crisis demands that we support candidates who acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change and are willing to spearhead the initiatives needed to address this existential threat.
I’m working on a full breakdown of the SBOE elections and how we can flip that body. Look for that tomorrow. These are some of the most important elections in Texas, and we can’t keep giving them to Republicans.
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