A Better Future for Dallas
Climate change, pollution, and extreme weather events are threatening the health and safety of our communities. We are organizing community members to make sure the City of Dallas takes stronger action to stop climate pollution, make our city more resilient, and address environmental racism.
Our cities can do a lot to fight pollution and make our communities more resilient against climate change and extreme weather, especially when our state leaders fail to prepare. Cities like Dallas need strong climate policies to protect our health and environment.
How Pollution and Climate Change Impact Dallas
Extreme weather events are increasing every year as the climate warms, and we’re experiencing the direct impacts of strong winter storms, summer heat, tornados, and droughts in North Texas. Burning fossil fuels in our buildings, homes, and cars, as well as to generate electricity, is not only driving climate change but making our air unhealthy to breathe. In Dallas, communities of color in southern Dallas (south of I-30) are experiencing disproportionately worse air pollution and live in neighborhoods historically overburdened by pollution due to racist zoning practices.
We must reduce climate pollution, build a Dallas that is resilient against extreme weather, and address pollution-burdened neighborhoods.
Here are examples of how extreme weather and fossil fuel infrastructure have impacted the health and environment of Dallas residents.
- February 2021 Winter Storm Uri (Texas Freeze)
- Millions of Texans were left freezing in their homes and over 100 died after multiple blackouts hit all over the state. Texas’s deregulated, fossil fuel-based energy system couldn’t handle a winter storm that our northern neighbors face all the time, and it cost us $195 billion. Winter Storm Uri was the worst disaster Texas has ever seen, but it is certainly not the worst of what’s coming. A properly winterized, reliable, and renewable energy electric grid would have prevented this disaster.
- October 2019 Tornado
- Forecasters first noticed a possible tornado approaching Texas on October 16. Just four days later, by October 20, the tornado outbreak struck Dallas neighborhoods and destroyed entire houses and businesses. The EF3-level tornados uprooted neighborhoods and became the costliest outbreak in Texas history at $1.55 billion. All that damage in Dallas was from just one tornado, but 35 others hit the South over the next two days. No amount of warning could’ve saved us.
- 2018 Natural Gas explosion shows how dangerous our gas system is
- A deadly gas pipe explosion killed a 12-year-old girl and injured many of her relatives in their northwest Dallas home. Although the family never expected it, the pipe burst was absolutely preventable. Decades-old gas pipes run under most neighborhoods and provide a silent threat. Atmos Energy, the company whose un-inspected gas pipes also caused 300 other families in the area to evacuate their homes, is one of the state’s largest natural gas distributors, so they only got a slap on the wrist: the local government’s official report asked Atmos to provide their workers “more training.” Unreliable natural gas has already started causing Dallas families immeasurable pain.
According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, North Texas can expect to see the following climate impacts unless we act soon:
- Increased drought and flooding
- By 2100, Dallas could see up to 100 days with temperatures 100℉ and above
The History of Climate Action in Dallas
After years of pressure from community members and environmental advocates, Dallas passed its first-ever Climate Action Plan (called the “Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan” or “CECAP” for short) in May 2020. This was an important first step, but more action is needed.
Despite having some excellent ideas, Dallas’s CECAP won’t reduce climate pollution quickly enough and many of its most important measures are too weakly enforced or delayed until after 2030.
After Dallas residents spoke out about the plan’s issues, many City Council Members acknowledged the need for stronger action and agreed to activists’ demands that the city create a resident-let Environmental Commission to oversee implementing the climate plan.
Now, as Dallas implements its Climate Action Plan, we’ll need to make sure the city listens to the people and creates stronger measures on climate and pollution. The next few years will be crucial for addressing climate change in Dallas.
We’re already seeing major impacts from climate in Dallas, from extreme storms to droughts, in addition to poor air quality from fossil fuel use and industrial pollution in neighborhoods of western and southern Dallas.
We’re building People Power to create stronger climate action in Dallas! We’re only going to solve these problems if we start at the grassroots and make sure the people are taking the lead on climate solutions. By getting as many folks as possible organized and engaged in pressing for climate solutions, we can create real change for all Dallas neighborhoods.