Climate change science presented to uncertain Governor Abbott

Weather Blog

Jim Spencer and David Yeomans addressed the scientific evidence presented to Texas Governor Greg Abbott Tuesday. Abbott recently said, he wasn’t clear about the climate change issue because he wasn’t a scientist.

Click on the video above for the full report. Below, see the letter presented to Governor Abbott and to Jon Niermann, Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

This topic sparked a considerable Facebook discussion after Jim posted a viewer’s skeptical email. See it, and/or comment here: https://www.facebook.com/jimspencerKXAN/

—————————-

January 8th, 2019

The Honorable Greg Abbott

Governor of State of Texas

P.O. Box 12428

Austin, Texas 78711

Cc: Jon Niermann, Chairman, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Dear Governor Abbott,

At a press conference last month to discuss a new report on the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, a reporter asked you whether man-made climate change has played a role in Texas’ weather disasters. You replied that it would be impossible for you to say, as you are not a scientist. 

We, the undersigned, are climate scientists and experts, and can report to you that climate change is happening, it is primarily caused by humans, and it is having a devastating impact on Texas, including increasing deadly flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey.  

Furthermore, the recently released National Climate Assessment, put together by more than a dozen federal agencies and more than 300 scientists found that, left unchecked, climate change will have dangerous results for the Southern Great Plains, which includes Texas. The report finds: 

  • Annual average temperatures will increase by 3.6°–5.1°F by the mid-21st century and by 4.4°–8.4°F by the late 21st century

  • An additional 30–60 days per year above 100°F than we currently experience

  • Higher temperatures could result in an additional 1,300 deaths per year by the end of the century

  • Extreme heat will pose health risks to outdoor agricultural workers, with some communities “projected to lose more than 6% in annual labor hours by the end of the century”

  • Sea level rise along the western Gulf of Mexico “is likely to be greater than the projected global average of 1–4 feet or more. Such a change, along with the related retreat of the Gulf coastline, will exacerbate risks and impacts from storm surges.”

  • Up to $20.9 billion in coastal property is projected to be flooded at high tide by 2030

  • The Edwards Aquifer will suffer from “a decrease of water supply during droughts, a degradation of habitat for species of concern, economic effects, and the interconnectivity of these impacts.”

We can take actions now to help us adapt to the impacts of climate change. And, as one of the biggest wind energy producers in the U.S., we can also play a key role in reducing the emissions that will drive future changes in the climate. The only thing missing is leadership.

We therefore request the opportunity to brief you on the climate science and the need for the State of Texas to take immediate action to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Sincerely,

Andrew Dessler, Ph.D.

Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Reta A. Haynes Chair in Geosciences

Texas A&M University

Daniel Cohan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering

Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Rice University

Charles Jackson, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Institute for Geophysics

The University of Texas at Austin

Kerry H. Cook, Ph.D.

Professor, Jackson School of Geosciences

Dept. of Geological Sciences

The University of Texas at Austin

Richard M. Mitterer, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Geosciences

University of Texas at Dallas

Gerald North, Ph.D.

Research Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Texas A&M University

Joshua W. Busby, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs

The University of Texas at Austin

Sylvia Dee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences

Rice University

Dr. John B. Anderson, Ph.D.

Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography Emeritus

Rice University

Yangyang Xu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Texas A&M University

Laurence Yeung, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary  Sciences

Rice University

Robert A. Dull, Ph.D.

Senior Research Fellow

Environmental Science Institute

The University of Texas at Austin

Rasika M. Harshey, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular Biosciences

The University of Texas at Austin

Hongjie Xie, Ph.D.

Professor

Dept. of Geological Sciences

University of Texas at San Antonio

Gunnar W. Schade, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
Texas A&M University

Caroline Masiello, Ph.D.

Professor, Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences

Rice University

Francisco L. Pérez, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus and Soils Lab Director Emeritus

Dept. of Geography and the Environment

The University of Texas at Austin

Stephen F. Ackley

Associate Professor of Research

Dept. of Geological Sciences

University of Texas at San Antonio

Sylvia G. Dee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences

Rice University

Ian Dalziel, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Professor, Jackson School of Geosciences

Institute for Geophysics

The University of Texas at Austin

Yuko M. Okumura, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Jackson School of Geosciences

Institute for Geophysics

University of Texas at Austin

Courtney Schumacher, Ph.D.

Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

E. D. Brockett Professorship in Geosciences

Texas A&M University

Kara Kockelman, Ph.D.

Dewitt Greer Centennial Professor of Transportation Engineering

Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

The University of Texas at Austin

Mark Torres, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Earth, Environmental, & Planetary Sciences

Rice University

Emily Northrop, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics

Dept. of Economics and Business

Southwestern University

Joshua Long, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Southwestern University

William Quinn, Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences

St. Edward’s University

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss