Warm Texas wind blows green for Mars
- 9 May 2014
- From the section Science & Environment
This year is turning into a humdinger for those of us lucky enough to collect sprawling climate science reports.
This latest 800 page plus breakdown of the impacts of rising temperatures, echoes the same song as the others.
Climate change is real, man made, and it is hitting almost every part of the US. And it is going to get a lot worse.
One of the areas that's likely to feel the full effects of warming is the second largest state: Texas.
Everything, as we all know, is bigger under the lone star.
Thanks to its huge size and coastline, Texas is likely to suffer a wider range of negative climate effects than any other state in the Union.
The report predicts more heat, more dry spells and more extreme weather events in a place that suffered record temperatures in 2011.
The resulting drought is still being felt in many parts.
So desperate are they for water in the town of Wichita Falls, the locals are investigating the possibility of recycling toilet water for human consumption!
As Texas is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the US, there is a certain synchronicity to the scale of the impacts the state is likely to endure.
Lone star state of mind?
However the political reaction to the report in Texas has been loud, strident and to wax American, ornery.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, run by appointees of Republican governor Rick Perry, has lashed out at the national climate assessment.
"It is clear that the science of global warming is far from settled," they write.
Cutting the use of high carbon fuels would raise the price of energy for poorer people, they argue - "this is the true environmental impact of the war on coal."
So far, so predictable. Climate change is one of a number of highly politicised arguments in the US, and this is especially true in key electoral states like Texas.
But there are some signs that things are changing in Texas and elsewhere and getting beyond this black and white debate about the reality of global warming.
Take Mars. The company not the planet.
With sales of $33bn, this is a global behemoth in everything from chocolate to pet care. It employs 72,000 people around the world.
But the sweet toothed giant is also committed to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
To that end, it has recently concluded a low key deal to offset all of its US energy consumption with green electricity generated by 118 large wind turbines.
That's enough renewable power to make 13bn snickers bars, according to the company.
And the location of this 10,000 hectare wind farm? These tall blades will be twisting in the west Texas wind.
This type of development is typical say some researchers, of the changes that are going on away from the political battle lines. Companies, farmers, small businesses are taking steps, checking out the options and going green.
"It is very hard for us as a species to think globally, we really evolved to adapt to things in our local environment," says Dr David Wolfe from Cornell University.
"So global change has been very difficult for us to link up with. Unfortunately we are seeing more local impacts and business people are seeing this.
"They are mostly concerned with staying competitive in the marketplace, they are not coming so much from global environmental concerns, but in staying one step ahead of their competitors."
In Texas, as elsewhere, people see sense in cents.
Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc.