Report: Texas Failing in Assessing, Preparing for Climate Threats

November 18, 2015

Texas is failing in assessing and preparing for environmental threats posed by climate change, according to a new report.

A recently released study by Climate Central and ICF International, States At Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card, found that Texas is well behind other states in preparing for climate threats.

The groups analyzed five threats: extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding and coastal flooding. Four categories of actions were considered in the study: reducing current risks, assessing vulnerability to future risks, planning for future risks and implementing actions to reduce future risks.

With the exception of extreme heat, Texas has generally done well in preparing for current threats, according to the report. But it has lagged in taking forward-thinking actions related to climate change risks.

“The Lone Star State faces the highest overall threat levels from extreme heat, drought, and wildfires among the lower 48 states and has not undertaken a level of preparedness commensurate with this level of threat,” the report states. In addition, “the state has taken almost no action to prepare for projected climate change-driven risks.”

The grades assessed in the report card are “relative to other states, and relative to the magnitude of the climate threats themselves,” the report states.

Texas scored an overall grade of “F” on the report card. For the five environmental risk areas analyzed Texas’ grades are as follows: extreme heat, F; drought, D-; wildfires, D; inland flooding, N/A (not identified as a priority for the state); and coastal flooding, D+.

Other states receiving an overall grade of “F” included Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi and Nevada. California, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania received overall “A” grades. Connecticut scored an “A-“.

“Looking to the future, Texas has taken almost no action to understand its future climate vulnerabilities, plan for them, or implement programs that aim to increase its resilience. This lack of action places Texas far behind the curve: most states have taken at least limited action to prepare for future climate threats. Crucially, the state has not conducted a statewide climate change vulnerability assessment, and does not have an adaptation plan in place,” the report states.

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