News » San Antonio News

Perry's ignorance on climate change not aided by Texas' state climatologist


Perry and Texas' state climatologist have apparently never spoken about climate change — despite the fact that nearly the entire state is experiencing "exceptional" drought and has been breaking summer heat records all summer long. This is the climate of the future we're wading into, a condition most of the scientific community expects to lock in and worsen across the Southwest U.S. and Central America as the full brunt of global warming comes to bear. Were Texas to secede, as Perry feels it justifiably could, the young nation would rank in the top 10 globally for the amount of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gas it pumps out. That is to say, what Perry thinks about climate change matters. To explore that topic, the Current filed a state open records request earlier in the month requesting
All communications (letter, fax, email, text) between the Office of the Governor and Texas State Climatologist John W. Nielsen-Gammon since his appointment in 2000 to today’s date of August 1, 2011.
Interestingly, aside from the first proclamation by former Governor George W. Bush (left) naming Nielsen-Gammon to his post in March 2000, the only communication between the two have been directives from the Governor’s office to all appointees about such matters as how to comply with open-records requests and field calls from the media (bottom). In 2008, after Perry had been in office for eight years, Nielsen-Gammon told me that he had made one attempt to contact Governor Perry in the hopes of briefing him on the topic of climate change. That approach was apparently rebuffed. After I heckled Nielsen-Gammon on his blog at the Houston Chronicle for his failure to call out the governor for his decision to fight greenhouse gas regulations in the state as the world hurtles toward potentially irreversible tipping points, he promised to make one more attempt. As the Chronicle's science reporter Eric Berger points out this week, the scientists at Perry’s alma mater are of one mind on the subject of global warming, putting them at odds with Perry’s coached ignorance now prancing on the national stage. Nielsen-Gammon's tutelage is obviously is much needed. Has he made that second attempt? No, he told me today. In fact, he doesn't remember ever trying to educate Perry the first time. Well. That could explain some things. It's safe to assume that even if Perry had come for some one-on-one coaching in the natural sciences, it likely wouldn't take anyway. Gets in way of the politics. And the future of not only Texas is the worse for it. ... Chuckles for journos ... This is how Perry appointees are coached.


Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.