Climate change in Texas

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According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the climate in Texas over the next century could change.[1] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that by the year 2100, temperatures could increase by 1 to 6 °F (0.6 to 3.3 °C) in the spring season and 1 to 9 °F (0.6 to 5.0 °C) in other seasons. This is based on the Hadley Centre’s climate model HadCM2, which accounts for both greenhouse gases and aerosols.[citation needed]

Precipitation could decrease by 5-30 percent in the winter season but increase by about 10 percent in the other seasons.[citation needed] The increases in summer could be slightly larger (up to 30 percent) than in spring and fall.[citation needed] The amount of precipitation on extremely wet or snowy days in winter is likely to decrease, and the amount of precipitation on extremely wet days in summer is likely to increase.[citation needed] The frequency of extremely hot days in summer would increase because of the general warming trend.[citation needed] It is not clear how severe storms such as hurricanes would change.[citation needed]

Climate change impacts[edit]

Texas is among the Deep South states that could experience the worst effects of climate change.[2]

Water resources[edit]

Several major river basins lie partly or entirely within Texas. Unless increased temperatures are coupled with a strong increase in rainfall, water could become more scarce. A warmer and drier climate would lead to greater evaporation, as much as a 35 percent decrease in streamflow, and less water for recharging groundwater aquifers. Increased rainfall could mitigate these effects, but also could contribute to localized flooding. Additionally, climate change could give rise to more frequent and intense rainfall, resulting in flash flooding.[citation needed]

Satellite image showing wind whipped smoke and dust from wildfires blowing southeast across Texas.

Greenhouse gases[edit]

Air pollution occurs throughout major cities in Texas.

Texas emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other state. If Texas were a country, it would be the seventh-largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world. Texas's high carbon dioxide output and large energy consumption is primarily a result of large coal-burning power plants and gas-guzzling vehicles.[3]

Action to address climate change[edit]

Clean cities[edit]

Texas has the following Clean Cities coalitions:

  • Alamo Area Clean Cities[4]
  • Loan Star Clean Fuels Alliance (Central Texas)[5]
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities[6]
  • Houston-Galveston Clean Cities[7]

Renewable energy[edit]

Wind power in Texas[edit]

The wind farms in Texas are spread over 40 projects and had a total installed nameplate capacity of 25,629 megawatts as of the second quarter of 2019.[8][9] If Texas were a country, it would rank fifth in the world[8] behind only China, the United States, Germany, and India.[citation needed] As of the third quarter of 2013, Texas produced the most wind power of any U.S. state.[8][10] According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), wind power accounted for at least 15.7 percent of the electricity generated in Texas during 2017. Wind power accounted for 17.4 percent of the electricity managed by ERCOT.[11][12] ERCOT set a new wind output record of nearly 19.7 gigawatts at 7:19 pm Central Standard Time on January 21, 2019.[13]


The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) provides grants for alternative fuel and advanced technology demonstration and infrastructure projects. Under TERP, the New Technology Research and Development Program provides incentives to encourage and support research, development, and commercialization of technologies that reduce pollution in Texas. The NTRD Program is administered by the Texas Environmental Research Consortium, with support from the Houston Advanced Research Center.

The Texas State Energy Conservation Office researches and assists public and private entities in securing grants to encourage the use of alternative fuels. This includes the use of hybrid electric vehicles and the conversion of state and local government fleets to operate on compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, and bioethanol.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Climate Change and Texas
  2. ^ Robinson Meyer (June 29, 2017). "The American South Will Bear the Worst of Climate Change's Costs". The Atlantic.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c AWEA Texas Fact Sheet
  9. ^
  10. ^ "AWEA Third Quarter 2012 Market Report" (PDF). Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "ERCOT Quick Facts for 2017 published July 2018" (PDF). July 1, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  12. ^ "ERCOT Quick Facts for 2017 published February 2018" (PDF). February 1, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  13. ^ "ERCOT Sets Record Wind Output and Penetration Rate Over the Holiday Weekend". Retrieved August 18, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]