Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Next in “What’s wrong with our textbooks”: Climate change

From the inbox: An examination of how proposed social studies textbooks for Texas public schools address climate change reveals distortions and bias that misrepresent the broad scientific consensus on the phenomenon. Climate education specialists at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) examined the proposed textbooks, which publishers submitted for consideration by the State Board […]

Two environmental stories

Some good news, and some bad news. The bad news: We have an oyster shortage. Add an oyster shortage in Texas Gulf Coast to the problems exacerbated by the state’s years-long drought. But Texas’ dry spell isn’t the only reason the slimy delicacies are harder to come by lately. What was once an abundant supply […]

What do the Mayors want?

Action on climate change. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan group that represents the leaders of 1,400 cities, each of which is home to at least 30,000 people, has called on the Obama administration and Congress to “enact an Emergency Climate Protection law that provides a framework and funding for the implementation … of […]

Texas will do just fine under the new EPA clean air regulations

Unless it wants to fail, of course, which is always an option under the likes of Rick Perry and Greg Abbott. Texas could lead the way into a less carbon-intensive future under the Obama administration’s plans to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Or the state could have trouble keeping the lights […]

It’s like the drought never really went away

If it ever did go away it didn’t go far, because here it is again. Even as light rain moved through the region Thursday, Houston officially slipped back into a moderate drought. Although most areas only recorded a few hundredths of an inch of rain, it nevertheless was the first measurable precipitation much of the […]

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 […]