If only Texas could go back to the future.
To a time when elected leaders and policy makers addressed global warming and air pollution, and saw renewable energy as an opportunity to improve the environment and economy.
To a time when lawmakers set audacious goals — to produce twice as much wind power as the nation — and jump-started a free market that blew past the mandates.
To a time when Texas was the pioneer in energy efficiency and two dozen states followed the example.
That was the late 1990s, when Texas was leading on clean energy, not lobbying or litigating against every environmental idea out of Washington or California or Paris.
“I’m so proud of Texas,” said Jim Marston of the Environmental Defense Fund, who’s been working on clean energy issues for three decades. “Now, it just breaks my heart.”
After President Donald Trump rejected the Paris climate accord this month, at least nine states and hundreds of mayors and businesses vowed to keep working toward the goals.
Blame it on polarization, the Koch brothers, the revival of oil and gas or the rejection of science and elites that Trump has championed. Whatever the reason, today’s Texas is nothing like the Texas of 20 years ago, when people could agree on inconvenient facts and hammer out ambitious ways to confront them.