Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fifth report on where humanity stands on climate change. IPCC brings together thousands of volunteer scientists and other global experts to review humankind’s current scientific understanding of climate change. After these academic experts have come to consensus, officials from nearly 200 U.N. member countries review their results. The latest report shows that we are more certain than ever before that the climate is changing, and if humanity doesn’t act now, we could face devastating warming in the future.
The broad international consensus on climate change stands in stark contrast with what we typically hear from our elected representatives in Texas. Too often, they call climate change “unsettled science,” or claim that some uncertainty around the extent of warming warrants inaction from the state that emits the most carbon dioxide in the nation. The state’s environmental agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), famously censors mentions of climate change from its reports. And even more aggressively, the state has fought the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) permitting process for large sources of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) tooth and nail.
Texans are tired of hearing the same old talking points casting doubt on climate science. After the all-time record breaking summer of 2011, the worst wild fires in the state’s history and too many years of drought, most Texans understand that climate change is happening. In a Yale University poll released last month, an overwhelming 70 percent of Texans said they believe global warming is happening—and 52 percent said they have personally experienced the effects of global warming. On top of that, 55 percent of Texans believe global warming is caused at least in part by human activity.
The numbers are in. Despite a full-force disinformation campaign waged by some of the most powerful officials in the State of Texas, Texans decidedly agree with the scientists on climate change. And the international consensus on the subject will only grow stronger as climate change intensifies. It’s time for our officials to join the masses and reason with science.