Houston, we have a problem…….

1 09 2017

I’ve never been to Texas, so I have to rely on what others are saying and writing to gauge the monumental stuff up that is currently occurring in Houston, and now outlying towns, and even possibly Louisiana; especially if Hurricane Harvey re enters the Gulf of mexico long enough to strengthen and make its third landfall there.

Chris Martenson, in his latest podcast, claims Houston is built on a dry lake bed…… The city has less slope than a shower floor! How could the US’ fourth largest city, with an economy so massive that if it was a sovereign nation, it would rank 10th in the world, have been developed in such a precarious fashion?

Harvey poured as much as 374 billion gallons of water (1.4 trillion litres, enough water to fill the Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City twice!) within the city limits, exceeding the capacity of rivers, bayous, lakes and reservoirs…….. planners have been lying about Houston’s capacity to deal with floods since its very inception. People were told it could withstand a 1 in 100 year flood. Such floods have occurred 27 times in the past century. Lately, with climate change in full force, no less than three 1 in 500 year floods have occurred, in the past five years…… This latest one has been described as a 1 in 1000 years event….. climate change is clearly making a mockery of statistics.

Hurricane Harvey is predicted to be the costliest natural disaster in the history of theImage result for houston floodsU.S., with damage costs exceeding Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina and estimated to reach at least $180 billion – and I have seen figures as high as 225….  You have to remember that compared to Houston, New Orleans is a hick town where people party all day and produce nothing, unlike the Houston area which produces a quarter of all the US’ liquid fuels. At least a million cars and trucks will have been destroyed, and they alone will surely reach 20 billion dollars….

Only one in six Texans are insured against floods I read…… and some are actually underinsured.  How will they rebuild? And why would they anyway? Who in their right mind would settle in a place that in the future, with sea level rise and ever higher gulf water temperatures, will be hammered ever more often with disasters like this?

Besides, cities like Houston were built one brick a time over some eighty years, and when Texas was the source of the world’s largest quantities of 100:1 ERoEI oil that was so cheap, you could do anything. Things are very different now. Even if there were enough qualified tradespeople around to rebuild Houston, where would they live? Who would pay them? Where would all the surplus energy come from?

houston refineryWith so much industrial activity in the area, this is also turning into an environmental disaster…  a flooded chemical plant east of Houston burst into blast smoke twice, leaking chemicals and sending 15 people to hospital. Federal Emergency Management Agency is calling the plume “incredibly dangerous,” noting that the organic peroxides at the facility pose threats to human health. Residents living in a 1.5-mile radius around the plant were ordered to evacuate. More than one million pounds of toxic air pollutants have spewed into the region’s atmosphere due to mass refinery and chemical plant shutdowns, with more pollution events expected as the plants start to back up. Drinking water across southeast Texas is also “going to be contaminated,” infectious disease specialist Rick Watkins told the Guardian, because of the disruption of sewage systems, which will leak into floodwater. According to Newsweek, “drinking water has already come into contact with dirty floodwater.”

Eco watch reports………:

While we cannot say definitively that climate change caused Hurricane Harvey, science tells us with confidence that it has increased the impact of the flooding and heightened the intensity of the storm.

But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. For many years, scientists have warned that our continued reliance on fossil fuels will lead to bigger and more devastating storms.

It’s also abundantly clear that coastal Texas and the wider Gulf region (which has seen this kind of event before), are on the frontlines of sea level rise and extreme weather heightened by climate change. And Houston in particular—with its slate of oil, gas, and chemical refineries owned by companies like Exxon and Shell—faces the additional risk of toxic petrochemical chemical spills into nearby communities.

Greg Abbott. The Texas governor has been on record for years denying the science of climate change, stating that scientists disagree (they don’t) and that their findings “need to continue to be investigated” (not really). He also sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. How long before heads will roll?

And is this the first real nail in the coffin for the USA…..? Only time will tell, but we are fast running out of that.