Warm Texas wind blows green for Mars

 
texas Wildfires in Texas have followed on from an extended drought in the state

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This year is turning into a humdinger for those of us lucky enough to collect sprawling climate science reports.

Along with the block-busting trilogy from the IPCC, we've had a new tome from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and just this week, the US national climate assessment.

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.

oil rig A boom in oil and gas extraction has seen huge increases in emissions of carbon dioxide in Texas

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.

 
Matt McGrath Article written by Matt McGrath Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

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  • rate this
    -31

    Comment number 11.

    6
    Robert Lucien

    I do not deny climate change

    I categorically reject claims that these changes are as a result of human activities

    It is a lie. A lie with the intention if world governments justifying taxing their citizens. I feel for people who believe 1) We are significant enough to influence this planets climate, and 2) That world governments will spend the money ‘making it all better.

  • rate this
    -18

    Comment number 10.

    Not much point in making a comment if the ratings won't work unless they are PC. Climate change is real but humans only cause a miniscule amount compared to nature.

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 9.

    "4. martoon196"

    It's incredible to me that in this age of the internet, with the sum total of all human knowledge literally at ones' fingertips, that opinions like yours still exist. The smartest brains on the planet agree in mad-made climate change - you disagree. The conclusion is obvious: you are clearly NOT one of the smartest brains on the planet!

    Now please go away...

  • rate this
    -24

    Comment number 8.

    "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."

    Let's not forget climate change was called 'global warming' up to a few years ago until the climate scientists realised the world was not warming as they'd forecast.

    The sun & geological movements (volcanoes) have more impact on the climate than man.

    Stop peddling myths!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 7.

    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!

    Is USA that BACKWARD , we have been recycling sewage water for years in UK.

    Problem with USA, is the historical gluttony indulgence of waste, just as they have found fracking gas & just assume it will last forever & so waste it

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 6.

    I see in 50 years - The irony of those dying of drought and starving to death because there is no water and with no water no agriculture still denying climate change. Even as the oceans lap around their knees.

    There's nothing more stupid or stubborn than Texans - and their proud of it too.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    '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!'

    So? We do already. It just takes a while to get to the sea and back. If my toilet magically produced clean drinking water I'd be very happy. Squeamishness won't produce answers.

  • rate this
    -38

    Comment number 4.

    Ahh so your paymasters in the EU need more support for the bribes they want to receive from wind farm producers.

    Global waking is a joke, the earth has a built in structure for balance a bit like your body regulates at 37.5 degrees... Excess co2 and other gases are absorbed by algae into the depths of the oceans.

    This is the age of the Internet, your propaganda doesn't work anymore.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 3.

    ban diesel - it is killing us.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 2.

    Was only two years ago that the BBC was reporting that wind farms in Texas made the land hotter !!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17871300

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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