Rick Perry on climate change and Texas agriculture: 'We'll be fine'
Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green.
In the decades since switching from supporting Al Gore in 1988 to becoming a Republican agriculture commissioner and George W. Bush’s lieutenant governor, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has seen his state undergo devastating changes in its climate. Texas has grown hotter and drier, with stronger wildfires and torrential storms as greenhouse pollution builds in the atmosphere. Now, 99 percent of Texas is in drought, with a staggering 78 percent in exceptional drought. The state’s farmers and ranchers are expected to lose about $10 billion this year to the killer climate, the worst in history.
However, Perry believes that the climate is still normal, unaffected by oil and gas pollution. On the campaign tour at the Iowa State Fair Monday, Perry met with Gov. Terry Branstead (R-Iowa), who has been dealing with farmers devastated by record floods in his state. Perry told reporters that he’s personally troubled by the terrible drought, but that “you’re going to have good years, you’re going to have bad years.” In a video recorded by ThinkProgress, he promised that “we’ll be fine” because the rain “always” comes back:
It’s hard to see these crops. [INAUDIBLE] You know, I was telling the governor, if you’re in the farming business, you’re going to have good years, you’re going to have bad years. It’s just our bad year coming. We’ve had some awful good ones, back in — and we’ll be fine. As my dad says, it’ll rain. It always does.
When Perry was the Gore campaign’s Texas chairman, Gore warned of “the threat to the Earth’s atmosphere from the burning of oil, gas, and coal.” Climate scientist Jim Hansen testified before Congress that the frequency of hot summers would increase, and that “the greenhouse effect increases the likelihood of heat wave drought situations in the southeast and midwest United States.”
The future holds much more drastic changes, as the buildup of greenhouse gases has increased dramatically in the last 20 years, Texas’ own climate scientists warn. By 2050, Texas will have become a desert, too hot and too dry for any agriculture at all.