Global Warming Impacts in Texas

The Texas Observer summarizes the key points of the recent National Climate Assessment insofar as they affect Texas. The picture is not a pretty one.

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They also conclude with a couple of choice quotes from various influential corners of government. The most bizarre is the one from TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality):

There has been no significant global warming in more than 15 years, although carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. It is clear that the science of global warming is far from settled. Regulatory policy cannot be set without firm guidelines and the proven cause and effect that would dictate policy. The NCA global warming policy will result in greatly reduced use of coal for energy generation. This will impact the reliability of the electrical grid, and will also increase energy costs. It will particularly impact energy prices for those who can least afford it, such as the elderly and the poor. This is the true environmental impact of the war on coal.

Texas, of course, is an oil and gas state, and whatever small amount of coal-fired energy we have left surely is not for TCEQ to be defending. But the mention of a “war on coal” is utterly bizarre. The National Climate Assessment is mpstly an impacts document but there are modest policy recopmmendations:

None of these price-based measures has been implemented at the national level in the U.S., though cap-and-trade systems are in place in California and in the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. A wide range of governmental actions are underway at federal, state, regional, and city levels using other measures, as are voluntary efforts, that can reduce the U.S. contribution to total global emissions. Many, if not most of these programs are motivated by other policy objectives – energy, transportation, and air pollution – but some are directed specifically at greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  • Energy Efficiency: Reduction in CO2 emissions from energy end-use and infrastructure through the adoption of energy-efficient components and systems – including buildings, vehicles, manufacturing processes, applicances, and electric grid systems;
  • Low-Carbon Energy Sources: Reduction of CO2 emissions from energy supply through the promotion of renewables (such as wind, solar, and bioenergy), nuclear energy, and coal and natural gas electric generation with carbon capture and storage; and
  • Non-CO2 Emissions: Reduction of emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases and black carbon (soot); for example, by lowering methane emissions from energy and waste, transitioning to climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs, cutting methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture, and improving combustion efficiency and means of particulate capture.

If that’s a war on coal I’m a basketball player.


Hat tip to Martha Ward of Austin.

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