The National Wildlife Federation has launched a cool tool for checking up on how global warming is affecting wildlife and people in your state. Looking at the page on Texas, we learned that warming temperatures are projected to cause coastal sea levels to rise up to 38 inches by 2100, inundating East Texas’s marsh estuaries with salt water and threatening the birds and other creatures that live there. Rising seas also would reduce the brown shrimp population dramatically, isolate barrier islands from the Mainland and play havoc with residents and Texas’s $5 billion wildlife tourism industry.
In drier parts of Texas – which is a good bit of the state — flash flooding and wildfires are expected to worsen, affecting agriculture; water supplies will be greatly challenged and higher temperatures will increase ground-level ozone, causing more respiratory problems. Yup, pardner, the trail ahead don’t look so rosy.
The good news? Fortunately, there is some. The NWF site points out that Texas was one of the first states to pass a “renewable portfolio standard,” meaning it has set a goal (albeit a low one) to generate 4.2 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015.
More importantly, Texas has the potential to fulfill nearly 100 percent of its electricity needs from wind power. Shove over, Big Oil.