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Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Climate change will not be kind to Houston

It could be even worse, if that’s any consolation, but it will be bad as things are going now. Houston’s brutally hot summers, persistent humidity, floods and hurricanes never have been much of a selling point. It’s been something to endure. In 50 years, scientists predict Houston’s climate will look a lot like what it […]

We’re going to get more big rain storms

Better get used to it. The weather is getting worse, says one expert. Torrential rains fall in the Houston area more often than they used to, according to an unpublished analysis from state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon. Heavy precipitation of any particular magnitude are twice as likely to fall in the Bayou City today as they […]

New methane rules finalized

Gentlemen, start your lawyers. The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued its final rule for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The rule limits methane emissions from new oil and gas infrastructure and requires operators to submit to semi-annual or quarterly monitoring, depending on the type of operation. In addition, the agency took […]

Find those leaks

I don’t care how. A pair of state and federal government inspectors spent two weeks traveling around northern Colorado’s oil and gas fields in early 2012, filming with an infrared camera. Air pollution was rising in the region, and attention was turning to the rapid increase in drilling activity. The inspectors focused on Houston-based Noble […]

New EPA rules for methane coming

You know what will follow. Building on already pending rules to cut methane leaks from both new oil and gas wells and those on federal lands, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now plans to bring to the oil sector the tough emissions standards it previously applied to automobiles and power plants. The change would bring […]

Storm protection is expensive

But then so would be getting hit by a truly bad storm. Building a storm surge protection system along the Texas Gulf Coast could cost between $7.9 billion and $11 billion, and likely would not be completed for about two decades, according to a new study. The report by the Gulf Coast Community Protection and […]

Dealing with climate change whether you believe in it or not

Writer Taylor Hill visits West Texas to talk about drought, wind energy, and the topic that dare not speak its name, also known as climate change. Actions, though, do speak louder than words. AzTx Cattle and other ranching and farming operations across West Texas are changing a century-old way of life to adapt to the […]

2015 Texas Lyceum poll

Issues first, election stuff to come. From the press release: The 2015 Texas Lyceum Poll Finds:  Immigration remains the most important issue facing the state and Texans support lawmakers’ increased spending on border security. Texans’ views on  gay marriage are changing. Forty nine percent of Texans support gay marriage – up from 29 percent in 2009. […]

Regulating methane emissions

Get all your gas and fart jokes ready, because they’re just going to be inevitable. The Obama administration’s plan to slash methane emissions will raise costs for the oil and gas industry, forcing energy companies to invest in new pumps, compressors and equipment to prevent leaks of the potent greenhouse gas. Although the draft regulations […]

Who’s afraid of a little climate change?

We should be in Texas, but we’re not. Texas probably will see a sharp increase in heat-related deaths and coastal storm-related losses in the coming decades if nothing is done to mitigate a changing climate, according to a new study commissioned by a bipartisan group of prominent policymakers and company executives aiming to spawn concern […]

Texas sues the EPA again (and again, and again, and…)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday filed a lawsuit over the agency’s rejection of parts of a Texas clean air program, launching the state’s second battle against EPA regulations in less than two weeks. Texas has sued the agency 21 times since President Obama took office in […]

ERCOT acknowledges that meeting EPA clean air requirements won’t be that big a deal

From Texas Clean Air Matters: Well, it didn’t take long before the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) released, at the request of Texas’ very political Public Utilities Commission, another report about the impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) rules designed to protect public health. This time ERCOT, which manages 90 percent of Texas’ […]

EPA climate change plan would save water

Well, what do you know? As state regulators fret about how President Obama’s effort to combat climate change would affect the Texas power grid, a new study says the rules would be simpler to adopt than those regulators suggest – and that it would save the state billions of gallons of water annually. In an […]

SBOE adopts history textbook changes it hasn’t read

Awesome. After adopting hundreds of pages in last minute updates and corrections, the Texas State Board of Education approved new social studies textbooks Friday. All but the five Democrats on the 15-member board voted to accept products from all publishers except Worldview Software, which they rejected because of concerns over factual accuracy. “When I think […]

It’s OK if energy costs go up for now

That’s my reaction to this. As Texas regulators weigh a response to President Obama’s proposal to combat climate change, the operator of the state’s main electric grid says the plan would raise energy costs and threaten reliability – particularly in the next few years. In an analysis released Monday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) […]

SBOE defers new textbook decision

They’re funny even when they’re not trying to be. After an afternoon spent wrangling over the proper definition of jihad and the influence of Moses on the Founding Fathers, it was Common Core that ultimately derailed the State Board of Education’s initial vote on giving a stamp of approval to new social studies textbooks Tuesday. […]

It’s textbook approval time again

You know what that means, because we can’t do this sort of thing without controversy and a generous side order of knuckleheadedness. Bowing to public pressure, the world’s largest textbook publisher has revised misleading language on global warming in a proposed Texas reader. But another major imprint has yet to do the same, worrying scientists […]

Mayors against climate change

From the Think Globally, Act Locally department. Mayor Annise Parker briefly took center stage Monday in the campaign against climate change by pledging to make America’s energy capital a laboratory for experimentation and action. Frustrated with the congressional response to global warming, Parker and the mayors of Los Angeles and Philadelphia vowed to set more […]

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 […]