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Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

SCOTUS will hear another EPA lawsuit appeal

Gird your loins. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Texas’ challenge of federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants and factories, the court announced Tuesday. But it declined to hear the state’s appeals of two other decisions, effectively upholding rules that limit such emissions from vehicles and maintaining […]

Texas versus EPA, round one zillion

The desire to coddle polluters is strong in this one. A Texas-led coalition of energy-producing states has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case involving the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. The petition, which was filed last week, comes 10 months after a three-judge panel of […]

That drought we’re having? It’s still bad

So says our state climatologist in testimony before the Lege. John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist, said that during the past two years Texas received only 68 percent of its typical rainfall, making it the third driest period on record. If the extreme conditions extend through the summer, only the 1950s drought would be drier, he […]

We’re still looking at a drought here

I know we just got a lot of rain this week, but that doesn’t mean that drought conditions are over. The latest seasonal drought outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that for much of Texas and the rest of the Southwest, the drought is likely to “persist or intensify” over the […]

The drought is back

Bad news, y’all. The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, released this morning, shows that more than three-quarters of Texas is now in at least a “moderate” drought, and nearly half the state is in a “severe” or worse drought. Now to be clear, conditions are still far better than 13 months ago, when […]

CNG garbage trucks

You won’t hear them coming. Waste Management [announced on Friday that] it is pushing forward on a nationwide plan to convert all of its 18,342 trucks from loud and smoky diesel engines to quieter and cleaner compressed natural gas-powered machines. The latest destination for the company’s CNG trucks will be the Houston area, starting at […]

How dry we were

We were drier than ever last year. Federal scientists confirmed Friday that Texas had its driest year on record in 2011. The statewide average rainfall for the year totaled just 14.88 inches, according to the National Climatic Data Center, beating the previous low of 14.99 inches set in 1917. During the last century, Texas averaged […]

We’re #9!

The ninth greenest metro area, at least in terms of “green” jobs, according to a Brookings study. Houston’s “clean” or “green” economy is ranked 9th among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. “There is room for clean technology in a city with the […]

TCEQ a no-show at EPA hearing

They’d rather sue than engage. At the hearing in a hotel ballroom, Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional administrator for Texas and five adjacent states, said the federal agency prefers to let the state issue the permits, as it does for other air pollutants. “This isn’t a program that we want to implement for years,” Armendariz […]

EPA 3, Texas 0

How many times will the courts have to bench-slap our Governor and Attorney General before they get the message that Texas must comply with the same laws as every other state? It’s three and counting. Texas had asked the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block a program that awards construction […]

Federal court denies stay in Texas’ lawsuit against EPA

No love from the Fifth Circuit. Texas’ bid to stop the federal government’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases hit another roadblock today, when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the state’s request for a stay of a move to force states to implement federal plans. “Petitioners have not met their burden to satisfy […]

Federal court clears the way for greenhouse gas rules to be enforced in Texas

Apparently, Texas is subject to the same laws as those other states. Who knew? A federal appeals court on Friday rejected pleas from Texas, some other states and industry allies to block nationwide rules on greenhouse gas emissions slated to start next month. The states, industry groups and free-market groups are suing the Environmental Protection […]

Burning biomass

I can’t say I knew much about this before I read the story, but now that I have my initial reaction is to be skeptical. Interest in building power plants fueled by wood waste has recently surged in East Texas, which has none of the wind-power potential of West Texas but does have plenty of […]

San Antonio solar farm

There’s more solar energy available in Texas now than before. [Texas'] first solar farm, an array of 215,000 photovoltaic panels that capture sun rays and turn them into power, went on line Thursday in San Antonio. Statewide, at least six more projects are in earlier stages of development. “We have some of the best solar […]

Cap and trade would cut the federal deficit

Surely this means all those “deficit hawks” I keep hearing about will rush to embrace the American Power Act now. Right? The CBO analysis of the American Power Act, championed by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) found that government revenues would grow by about $751 billion from 2011 to 2020 if the […]

What will climate change legislation cost?

My friend Robert Nagle surveys the literature on climate change, specifically analyses of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA), also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, and finds estimates for how much it will cost the average household on an annual basis. Not too surprisingly, it’s a lot less than what fearmongers […]

CO2 emissions down

I thought this was worth sharing. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) just issued its must-read report on U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions in 2009.  It turns out energy-related CO2 emissions have dropped faster than EIA had expected just a few months ago (see my September post, “EIA stunner: By year’s end, we’ll be 8.5% below 2005 […]

Texas State Climatologist on the EPA and greenhouse gases

Did you know that Texas had a State Climatologist? I didn’t. His name is John Nielsen-Gammon, he’s a professor at Texas A&M, and you should read this brief interview in Think Progress about his opinions on carbon dioxide, the Environmental Protection Agency, and that lawsuit that was filed by our state leaders challenging the EPA’s […]

Seeing gold in green

Denying climate change and the adverse effects of carbon dioxide may be official policy of our Republican leaders, but word has apparently not filtered down to the business entrepreneurs whose capitalistic opportunism those Republicans usually lionize. “Energy is the biggest opportunity Silicon Valley has ever seen,” declared T.J. Rodgers, the founder of Cypress Semiconductor and […]

Texas takes a stand in favor of global warming

There was a time when stuff like this would have surprised me. But then, there was a time when being anti-science wasn’t a point of pride for the Republican Party. Texas on Tuesday became the first state to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that gases blamed for global warming threaten public health. Gov. Rick […]

If we’re looking for revenue to help deal with that budget gap…

We could always follow the lead of many other states and adopt our own climate plan. Already, ten states in the Northeast have put their electric utilities under a cap-and-trade system known as RGGI. Eleven Western states and Canadian provinces are now laying the groundwork for their own cap-and-trade system, known as the Western Climate […]

EPA public hearing on hazardous ozone standards in Houston

The following was sent to me from the Sierra Club: Right now the EPA is accepting public comments on proposed new ozone standards that will make the air we breathe cleaner and our communities healthier, but they are facing fierce opposition from the coal industry and its allies. We need you to join us the […]

More or stronger?

If we’re talking about hurricanes, neither sounds like an attractive choice. A new study with the most extensive computer modeling of storm activity to date suggests the overall number of Atlantic storms will fall 30 percent by century’s end, but the number of the strongest category 4 and 5 hurricanes will increase by 81 percent. […]

How green is your website?

Here are two thoughtful and interesting posts about data centers and carbon neutrality from my friend and Trinity classmate Robert Nagle; a postscript with some added thoughts is here. I’m glad to see that my webhost does pretty well in this regard, though it’s purely by accident from my perspective, as I’d never really thought […]

Lawsuit filed to force TCEQ to regulate greenhouse gases

Apparently, if you want the TCEQ to do its job, you need to file a lawsuit against them to make them do it. Which is what Public Citizen did on Tuesday, with a request to stop the permitting of coal-fired power plants in the meantime. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issues air pollution permits […]

If that’s your best, your best won’t do

We may never actually comply with federal clean air regulations. Texas’ new plan to improve the Houston area’s famously dirty air may not meet federal limits for smog. The pollution-fighting plan that state regulators are rolling out today predicts marked reductions in ozone, or smog, levels throughout the eight-county region. But monitors in Deer Park […]

Wyoming and wind

Interesting story about the boom in the wind energy industry out west and how some of that is bumping up against private property and NIMBYism, but what caught my eye was this bit: Wyoming and the West are home to some of the nation’s strongest wind resources. The American Wind Energy Association, a trade group, […]

Bryan Shaw

One gets used to disappointments with Rick Perry. In late 2007, the appointment of Bryan Shaw, a Texas A&M professor and air pollution expert, to the three-member board that oversees the state’s environmental agency drew praise from a prominent government watchdog. Tom “Smitty” Smith said then that Gov. Rick Perry’s selection “has lots of the […]

Hot enough for ya?

Yeah, it’s really hot out there. Houston’s relentless heat wave prompted the National Weather Service today to declare a “Heat Emergency,” a designation that air temperature and humidity is a potential health threat for all people and is particularly dangerous for high-risk groups. The emergency designation is expected to last through Friday, said Houston health […]

Voting right on climate change, part 3

Here we go again. The late-stage whip count on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 has produced a particular political irony. A measure crafted by two Democrats in the House of Representatives — Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) — over the course many years could hinge on the willingness […]

Did Tom DeLay do us a favor on climate change?

Via Yglesias, I see that one of the biggest impediments to a real solution for climate change is Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson, who is the chair of the Agriculture Committee. This has Chris Bowers thinking outside the box. Here is how you pressure Peterson if you are a non-partisan green group: overtly target the left-wing […]

Town hall meeting on climate change

The following is from the office of State Sen. Rodney Ellis: Houston Residents to Dialogue with National Experts on Climate Change Impacts Joint Center’s Climate Change Commission Hosts Town Hall Meeting WHO: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center) and its Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change (Commission) WHAT: The Commission […]

Green and Gonzalez get plaudits for climate change bill

After all the haranging I did on this, the least I can do is to note this. The Obama administration joined environmentalists Friday in heaping praise on Texas Democratic Reps. Charlie Gonzalez and Gene Green for helping climate change legislation win approval by a congressional committee. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the pair “courageous” for […]

More on Gene Green and climate change

Here’s a followup story on the eventually successful negotiations among members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the cap-and-trade bill. Climate change legislation moving through Congress would give refiners free permits to emit greenhouse gases under a compromise engineered by a Texas Democrat whose Houston district includes many petrochemical plants. Rep. Gene Green […]