Deep in the Heart of Texas

Some green patches in one of the reddest of the Red States.

The Texas AG’s office seems to do little else besides battle against EPA, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is in the vanguard of anti-environmentalism.  Yet even in Texas there are some rays of hope.  While Texas is attacking the Clean Power Plan, the city of Houston is leading a coalition of cities defending it.

Other cities are taking action for non-environmental reasons. The city of Georgetown, Texas, for instance, has announced plans to become 100% renewable. Lest there be any misunderstanding, the major hastens to explain that “environmental zealots have not taken over our city council. . . Our move to wind and solar is chiefly a business decision based on cost and price stability.”

A similar move is taking place in Denton, Texas, while El Paso and San Antonio are phasing out coal. (see here for more details)  Energy efficiency is another area where Texas does well, with a recent study putting Houston, Dallas and San Antonio in the top twenty U.S. cities for energy efficiency, with El Paso  and Fort Worth not far behind.

People are often surprised to learn that Texas is the national leader in wind power, with the twice the generating capacity of any other state.  On one notable night last December, the state got 45% of its power from wind, though the year-round average was only about 10%.  Texas was one of the first states to adopt a renewable portfolio standard and has invested heavily in transmission  capacity for wind.  Coal is only 28% of the generation mix, a bit more than nuclear and wind combined, with almost half of Texas energy produced by natural gas.

None of this is to deny that the general political atmosphere in Texas remains anti-environmental.  Maybe that will shift as climate change begins to have a greater impact there.  As a coastal state, Texas will be impacted by sea level rise, which will amplify current storms risks in places like Houston, while the state will also suffer from growing temperatures and up to 4500 additional heat-related deaths per year.  In the meantime, however, it’s good to know that there are actually some positive developments already taking place in the Lone Star State.


, , ,

Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Deep in the Heart of Texas”

  1. Dan, the 2016 Presidential campaigns are proving more than ever before that it is time for someone to teach us how to Pray For The Living and Fight Like Hell For The Future! (an update on Mother Jones’ exhortation).

    Current climate changes are proving that time is running out much faster than we really know and the candidates are all failing to focus us on that most important fact of life at all, especially because we can’t solve any problems for the long-term if we don’t control global warming now.

    Science needs a leader/spokesperson who can campaign for the human race. Can Legal Planet produce such a person/group?

    1. Anthony said;
      “……it is time for someone to teach us how to Pray For The Living….”

      Dear Anthony,
      Most advocates of catastrophic climate change do not believe in God so who are they supposed to pray to? Their faith and hope is to die and go black (and not to Hell), so why should they be particularly concerned about anything that happens postmortem? Let’em pray to Gaia, the climate doesn’t care.

      Also, I would like to recognize Dan for his kind words about Texas, which reminds us that I have not been so gracious in my comments about California. I will try to find something good to say about environmental practices in California and post on this forum, but please patient, this task will take time and the necessary information will require much research and may not be adequate. Have a good day and don’t worry about climate change.

Comments are closed.

About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

READ more