Dire climate report to add pressure on oil industry
Tight standards, push to natural gas predicted
A dire government report on the far-reaching impact of climate change could increase pressure on the energy industry to curb greenhouse gas emissions and political leaders to act more decisively to reduce the use of fossil fuels, analysts said.
No one expects such actions while Republicans control the White House and the Senate. President Donald Trump quickly dismissed the report — produced by his own administration — telling reporters, “I don’t believe it.”
But, analysts said, the report’s uncompromising findings that the pace of global warming is accelerating and human activity — the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas — is most re- sponsible will make it harder for the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era restrictions aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emission from power plants and oil and gas drilling.
The 1,656-page report, required by Congress, offers the most comprehensive scientific study yet of climate change’s impact on the U.S. economy, public health, coastlines and natural resources. Its message is clear: Climate change, in the form of increasingly devastating hurricanes in the Southeast, deadly wildfires in Cali- fornia, and more intense heat waves, already have pummeled the country. And more climate change catastrophes are coming.
Billions of dollars of damage in Texas
The direction of climate change polices, of course, have large implications for Texas, with the oil and gas industry a major player in its economy.
Rising sea levels and hurricanes on the Texas Gulf Coast could threaten much of the nation’s energy refining capacity and inflict as much as $20.9 billion in coastal property damage from flooding by 2030, the report said. By 2050, about $30 billion of property along the Gulf Coast will be under the high-water mark.
The report underscores the unique position of Texas. It produces more carbon emissions than any other state, but also ranks among the most vulnerable to extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Har-
The direction of climate change policy has implications for Houston, whose economy is driven by the oil and gas industry.
Cattle roam next to a pond at dusk as a flare burns off excess gas at a nearby oil well site outside Karnes City.