In February 2021, President Joe Biden visited Texas after a severe winter storm left millions of people without energy.
President Joe Biden visited Texas after a severe winter storm left millions of people without energy.
Earlier this year Texas had its lowest temperatures in three decades. Dozens of deaths were blamed on the freezing weather conditions in the state. Millions of people were left with no electricity as connection pipes froze and burst underground. Many homes and businesses were not prepared for such an event and were left in the cold to see out the storm.
The cold weather also affected water treatment plants. Seven million people were told to boil their water to disinfect it and some even resorted to collecting and boiling snow from outside. In Harris County over 3.5 million people were left without running water. Burst pipes lead to the closure of Memphis airport during the storm and many hospitals struggled to cope.
The event was declared to be a major disaster by President Biden and $9m was allocated to help. President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden toured Houston, where there were over one million power outages. Mr. Biden thanked emergency workers and food bank workers for their efforts.
The conditions in Texas could become a catalyst for America to step up in the fight against climate change. President Biden has already prioritised combating climate change, including the reorganisation of American infrastructure. Texas remained a Republican state after the presidential election and many there have disagreed with Biden’s opinions on climate change. Governor Greg Abbott initially attempted to blame eco-friendly energy supplies for the power failures, despite windmills only accounting for 7% of Texas’ power. He told Fox News; “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,”
However, these statements were proved to be false. At a White House press briefing, the press secretary, Jen Psaki, confirmed that solar and wind power sources were the least affected by the weather conditions. Though this may not be enough to convince many republicans of the benefits of climate friendly energy sources, it has given them a first hand view of the devastating effects of ignoring the issue.