AUSTIN — Representative Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, filed legislation Tuesday to establish a global warming task force which will assess the economic and public health impacts of global warming on Texas.

“For too long, there has been a bogus debate on global warming fueled by junk science,” Burnam said. “Now, that debate is over. Just last week ExxonMobil admitted that global warming is a real threat and that greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide contribute to the problem. It’s time the state of Texas begins to make preparations to deal with the potential fallout from this very real crisis.”

Burnam noted 2006 was the hottest year on record in the United States. The scientific community agrees that global warming poses significant risks and dangers yet the United States continues to be the No. 1 emitter of carbon dioxide and Texas is the No. 1 emitting state, the representative added.

“We have 600 miles of coastline in Texas. If temperatures rise enough that sea levels rise a foot or more, there could be a serious economic and health impact on the state,” Burnam said. “The state is like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. We need a plan to deal with this challenge.

“At the same time, the reality of global warming provides excellent opportunities for businesses that innovate and create solutions to these problems. My bill directs the global warming task force to investigate and prepare for the worst while seeking opportunities for businesses that do the right thing.

“I do hope … the president addresses global warming,” Burnam said prior to Bush’s state of the union speech Tuesday night. “And I hope that the state of Texas will take the necessary steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for a carbon-constrained economy.”