Dire cli­mate re­port to add pres­sure on oil in­dus­try

Tight stan­dards, push to nat­u­ral gas pre­dicted

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - Business - By Marissa Luck STAFF WRITER

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-

Bran­don Thi­bodeaux / New York Times

The di­rec­tion of cli­mate change pol­icy has im­pli­ca­tions for Hous­ton, whose econ­omy is driven by the oil and gas in­dus­try.

Kin Man Hui / File photo

Cat­tle roam next to a pond at dusk as a flare burns off ex­cess gas at a nearby oil well site out­side Karnes City.

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