March 11, 2007
Senate Bill 1687 would have assured that we have no regrets when it comes to global warming.
We need to take important steps to stop climate change. The debate on this issue has come a long way recently, and there’s little scientific dispute over the fact that human activity contributes significantly to climate change.
Nationwide, Texas is the Number 1 emitter of carbon dioxide, the primary global warming gas. If Texas were a nation, we’d rank seventh globally for emissions of carbon dioxide. But we do very little when it comes to preventing global warming pollutants.
At a Nominations Committee meeting in 2007, I questioned the Governor’s latest nominee for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about whether the agency should regulate global warming emissions. He – like others who should know better – was surprised to learn that the current Texas Health and Safety Code gives the agency authority to regulate such pollutants. The TCEQ has tended to claim it couldn’t legally carry out this critical function.
Well, someone needs to do something before our kids are our age, and we can only regret that we didn’t take steps sooner.
SB 1687 would have required the TCEQ to recommend ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in this state and report back to the Legislature by the end of next year. Texas has a lot of catching up to do, so the bill directed the commission to look at programs implemented by other states and in other countries. The bill also focused on emission reduction strategies that will save businesses and consumers money into the future. And it would have assured that the TCEQ’s recommendations would become law by June 1, 2010, if they didn’t conflict with other state law.
The bill was approved by the Texas Senate, becoming the only climate change-related legislation to pass in either chamber in 2007. But it died in the state House of Representatives.