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Texas, Climate Change And America’s Energy Infrastructure

Transmission towers and power lines lead to a substation after a snow storm in Fort Worth, Texas.
Transmission towers and power lines lead to a substation after a snow storm in Fort Worth, Texas.

The situations in Texas and parts of the midwest are growing dire. Winter storms and record-breaking cold are wreaking havoc on Texas’ electrical grid.

The state has the only grid independent of the federal system, which is nationwide. Residents are going hours without heat and power in conditions for which many aren’t prepared. Pipes in homes and apartments are bursting. Ice on roads and sidewalks is making gathering resources exceedingly difficult. Rolling blackouts means that staying warm as temperatures reach freezing outside is growing more and more difficult.

And with more inclement weather on the way, Texans are bracing for the worst.

HEATED’s Emily Atkin described what’s happening in Texas as “an even drunker, deadlier jet stream.” Here’s more.

And I can tell you confidently, though there is still uncertainty in the causal link between climate change and the drunk jet stream, we have more than enough information to know what’s happening here. This extreme polar vortex event epitomizes everything climate change is: unprecedented, unrelenting, affecting a population unaccustomed and unprepared. Yes, we have always had winter—but not here, and not like this. Now take out the word “winter,” and replace it with every other extreme weather event. That’s climate change.

When could the power come back in Texas? And what can be done to alleviate this freezing-cold suffering in the south? We start the conversation in Texas and then get the national view.

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

Arfie Ghedi

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