Monday, November 2, 2015

The Extinction of Houston

Fig. 1 High Rise
The Northern crescent of the Gulf of Mexico is a place that is destined to go extinct, in terms of sea ports (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 44, The Extinction of Robust Sea Ports).

The vulnerability of that gulf area is consequential because of fossil fuel ports, refineries, and the like:
The oil and gas industry, with its many coastal refineries, ports and pipelines, is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather, as well as to rising sea levels and higher temperatures, according to reports from the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Fig. 2 It doesn't get better
Much of the nation’s refining capacity lies along the Texas coast ...

The energy industry is a driver of the Texas economy, accounting for more than 8 percent of the gross state product in the year ended Aug. 31, according to the state Comptrollers Office. Oil and gas production taxes provided $4.5 billion in state revenue. (Reporting Texas, emphasis added).

"Texas would have to get funding from Congress and support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the go-to federal agency for coastal protection."

Fig. 3 Contrasting Projections
"But the corps has been sidelined by new spending limits, and Texas’s advocates in Congress [climate change deniers] have been silent.

Major local powers – the city of Houston and the oil and petrochemicals industries – have yet to weigh in on Merrell’s plan or a competing idea pushed by Rice University."

“It’s absurd it’s been so slow,” Merrell said.

"The paralysis in Texas reflects a troubling truth: The United States lacks a unified national response to the threat posed by rising sea levels. The policy vacuum leaves vulnerable communities to come up with their own self-defense plans and then hope to snag federal dollars before the next big storm."

Without some sort of national perspective on this, it pits parts of the country against each other … And Houston is stuck right in the middle of it,” said Richard
Fig. 4 The Whole Area Is Endangered
Luettich Jr, a marine scientist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and chairman of a National Research Council panel on coastal risk. The panel in July said U.S. government agencies have “no central leadership or unified vision” on reducing coastal risk – a failure that extends even to towns that are literally washing into the sea (see related article)." (Reuters)

"The instrumental record for Galveston’s Pier 21 has recorded a 0.60 meter [600mm, ~2 ft.] increase in relative sea level over the last 100 years." (Env. Defense Fund, PDF).
That coastal area is very endangered, and is not responding to the danger because of
Fig. 5 Sea level rise will not stop for a century
intense agnotology generators in that area in particular (Agnotology: The Surge, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17).

The agnotology is especially intense in congress among neoCon Republicans who are supposed to represent the people of that area.

The denialism of those congress members, and their supporters, is a danger to everyone else in the area.


The next post in this series is here.


  1. "Only Big Government, Mega-Rich People Can Stop Climate Change Apocalypse" - Bill Gates (link)

    Extinction confirmed.

  2. Yeah - AS IF there's anything we could do about ANY of it, even with everyone on the same page. Humanity is clearly stumbling into the abyss.

    What Randy said.


  3. Houston "refineries face flooding dangers" - (EE News)