The latest climate crisis is taking place in Texas, a state that consistently denies climate science in all its policies. Texas does not normally experience the level of frigid weather and icy storms it is seeing right now (Feb. 17) but for those who have been following the trajectory of the climate crisis, unheard of weather is completely predictable. There is a reason why we don’t use the term “global warming” as frequently as “climate crisis.” This is because, while carbon emissions that contribute to warming are an overall causal factor, the disaster is not linear, with specific crises unknown until they occur.
So, regardless of the fact that Texas is experiencing yet another climate crisis, the cynical and mendacious “leaders” in Texas took about 30 seconds to see what was happening — people freezing to death in their homes, dying of carbon monoxide poison in cars, the poor suffering life challenging situations — and decided to blame the Green New Deal. Yes, even though renewables comprise only about 10 percent of the Texas grid, even though the grid operator states that renewables are more than pulling their weight in power generation, and the problem is fossil fuel plants, especially gas, and nuclear reactors, whose controls froze, are the reason why people have no power. These power companies were “warned” by a deep freeze in 2011 to insulate their power plants, and even said they would do so, but despite making large profits, none of it went into cold-proofing the gas, nuclear and coal plants. And they have no reserves, as it is cheaper most times to buy straight from the source — except that the source is frozen.
Another feature of far-right rule is you never try to pull people together, to get out and work as a community to help each other, to create a resilience we will all need to survive more and deeper climate catastrophes. I would like to think that we in the environmental movement are always focused on ways we can pull together in a crisis — as we did in Tropical Storm Irene, as New Yorkers did with Tropical Storm Sandy, as we have tried to do during the COVID crisis, as we are doing now in the face of the unknown future.
Had the state leadership believed in science, they might have studied climate scientists’ predictions and built out more renewables, and understood that this was inevitable. We must speak up every time the right wing tries to blame current and future fires, droughts, power outages, ice storms, and other climate related messes on green energy. Wind and solar are ready to supplant the destructive 19th and 20th century power sources — they are cheaper, more reliable, and will allow our grandchildren to look forward to a future on earth. Don’t let anti-science politicians or industry magnates tell you otherwise.