This commentary originally appeared on the EDF Voices blog.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released its annual report on carbon emissions from energy-related activities. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Texas once again led the nation, emitting an estimated 652.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010. That represents close to 10% of the carbon emissions from the entire country.
I love my state, but this isn’t a “#1” we should be proud of. Our emissions contribute to the global increase in carbon in the atmosphere and influence extreme weather patterns.
And yet, Texas continues to challenge protections to limit the amount of greenhouse gases, wasting valuable time and resources trying to thwart the efforts to handle a critical public health threat.
I know there are people in Texas who are concerned about the greatest environmental challenge of our time. And I am inspired by news of the 7% increase in renewable power generation in the state last year. And I am inspired by visionaries such as Elon Musk who is exploding into the market with zero emission technologies like Tesla. You’d see more of his cars in Texas if the state would let them.
Texas has tooted its horn as a pro-business state for years, which has led us down the smog-ridden road we are on now. It’s not too late to change the tune of our song to be pro- clean energy business. Rather than constructing more fossil-fuel driven power plants, Texas can continue leading the nation with wind and solar development. Renewable energy will not only continue to propel Texas’ economy, but also cut down on air pollution. That’s a win-win for everyone, and a ranking for which Texas can be proud.