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Perspective: Energy Problems


When the storm descended on Texas beginning on Valentine’s Day, many people turned on their heat only to discover that they had no power, some for as long as 50 hours. People died. Homes and businesses suffered great damage, and water supplies are still not fully restored for many.

A disastrous combination of factors turned this weather event into a dire emergency for millions when the extreme cold caused the electrical grid in Texas to come very close to total collapse.

Climate change likely made the extreme cold weather last longer than predicted. Deregulation of Texas energy in the 90s led energy companies to cut costs to protect infrastructure from unlikely weather events. And the go-it-alone Texas way meant there was no surplus or backup energy available.

The disaster in Texas last week has been compared to the devastation experienced by Puerto Rico’s power grid after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

One week later, the snow has melted and Austin is again seeing temperatures in the 70s. It would be easy to chalk the storm up to a fluke and move on. This would be a serious mistake.

This is not a simple problem with simple solutions. It is a wake up call, and not just for Texas. Climate change is a reality that will continue to cause more extreme weather events everywhere. No city, state, region, or country can afford to ignore this fact.

I’m Deborah Booth and that’s my perspective.

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