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Newsweek Article On Texas Co2

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If Texas were its own country, it would be the 48th most populous in the world, right between North Korea and Ghana. In terms of landmass, at 268,000 square miles it would be the 40th-biggest. But when it comes to environmental impact, Texas is on par with some of the largest, most industrialized nations on the planet. Were the Lonestar State to secede from the union it would be the world's eighth-largest emitter of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, just behind Canada, with 630 million metric tons spewed into the atmosphere in 2005, according to new figures released this week by the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration. That's actually a reduction of 40 million metric tons since 2003, when Texas was the globe's seventh-largest CO2 contributor. But even though the state is improving, Texas still outpaces the combined emissions of California and Pennsylvania, the states with the second- and third-highest CO2 outputs.

Goes on to say that more than half of Texas residents live in an area with air quality that is deemed unsafe by the Clean Air Act standards...you gotta think Houston is most of this population. And that Texas has no plans to curb emissions, one of only 15 states.

I am not sold on global warming, and know we have threads on that...but I AM a proponent of clean air to breathe. Just another national knock against Texas...I hope the rest of the country appreciates all that we do for them...

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Didn't mayor white try to do something about this but the feds stopped it? Or was that something else?

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Didn't mayor white try to do something about this but the feds stopped it? Or was that something else?

Actually, our own friggin' STATE stopped him, saying it was their job to control emissions. And, look at how good a job they do.

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Goes on to say that more than half of Texas residents live in an area with air quality that is deemed unsafe by the Clean Air Act standards...you gotta think Houston is most of this population. And that Texas has no plans to curb emissions, one of only 15 states.

Clean Air Act standards don't work for Houston. Each metropolitan statistical area has a dozen or so air quality sensors located throughout the region, and if any one of those measures that air quality has exceeded the mandated threshold, the EPA counts it as a bad air day for the entirety of the region. Too many bad air days per year, and the region is out of compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Houston has three sensors that have ever exceeded the mandated thresholds, and they are all in sparsely-populated parts of the Houston Ship Channel. Industry along the ship channel isn't going away and those sensors aren't going to stop being tripped. Meanwhile areas upwind of the ship channel industry which include almost the entirety of the City of Houston have remarkably clean air, where the worst thing that we ever endure is dust (or if you live right next to a freeway, course particulates). Even areas downwind of the ship channel industry are acceptable by Clean Air Act standards.

The bottom line is that our regional air pollution issues are really very localized, and typically don't affect residences. This is in stark contrast to places such as LA, which have historically had major problems that actually were regional in scope. The EPA has recognized that Houston complies pretty well with the spirit of the law, and they've cut us a break in the past where the consequences are concerned.

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Didn't mayor white try to do something about this but the feds stopped it? Or was that something else?

That was something else. He was misinterpreting the results of a poorly-done study that attempted to link cases of cancer to high levels of butadiene and benzene, using that as a pretext to take action against plants outside of the jurisdiction of the City of Houston.

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WOW! The breadth and depth of Niche's BS in post #3 is just stunning. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that post was written by Gov. Perry himself. I especially liked the part about the EPA patting us on the head and saying, "Good try. We'll mark you down as an 'A'. If you don't decide to go into Republican politics, Niche, you'd still do well as a fiction novelist.

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Oh goodness, we're blessed enough to have a healthy industrial economy in this state? The horror!

Quick, let's raise taxes and quit being prosperous!

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WOW! The breadth and depth of Niche's BS in post #3 is just stunning. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that post was written by Gov. Perry himself. I especially liked the part about the EPA patting us on the head and saying, "Good try. We'll mark you down as an 'A'. If you don't decide to go into Republican politics, Niche, you'd still do well as a fiction novelist.

So what's the truth then?

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WOW! The breadth and depth of Niche's BS in post #3 is just stunning. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that post was written by Gov. Perry himself. I especially liked the part about the EPA patting us on the head and saying, "Good try. We'll mark you down as an 'A'. If you don't decide to go into Republican politics, Niche, you'd still do well as a fiction novelist.

WOW! Rhetoric, ad hominem fallacies, a lack of supporting evidence, all topped off by accused BS cited as from post #3, which I didn't write (you did)! If you don't decide to go into Democratic politics, Red, you'd still do well as a trial lawyer. ...oh yeah, that's right. :D

Most of this is what I've picked up from being a student in one of Bart Smith's classes at UH. Most of us know about his background in urban and regional economics but few know that he's an environmental economist by training. The rest of it comes from various Chronicle articles put out over the years, as well as from the study that Mayor White tried to use (which was in fact the topic of my very first post on HAIF, and against which you lobbed unsupported rhetoric).

Edited by TheNiche

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WOW! The breadth and depth of Niche's BS in post #3 is just stunning. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that post was written by Gov. Perry himself. I especially liked the part about the EPA patting us on the head and saying, "Good try. We'll mark you down as an 'A'. If you don't decide to go into Republican politics, Niche, you'd still do well as a fiction novelist.

Red, you know we can't let you get away with such a thing without elaborating ;)

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CDeb, you know it would take days to list all of the ways in which Niche's "we have the best air in the world" post is full of it. If I get bored later, I'll blast him a bit. For now, you will just have to be content with my laughing posts at possibly the most outrageously unsupported opinion that Niche has ever written....and that is saying a LOT!

OK, off to vote for the next president of the United States...Barack Obama!

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Niche's "we have the best air in the world" post is full of it.

That's not fair b/c it's silly to think or imply that his statements were remotely close to those lines.

the next president of the United States...Barack Obama!

Let's hope not.

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Interesting stuff Niche...It is no secret the ship channel area is no bueno, but I have read many studies that showed Houston and most suburbs' air quality is only slightly below the national average. Which is why this article came as news to me... Most lament flat Houston with no hills, but those hills in LA trap all that crappy air!!!

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Not that Niche needs me to stick up for him, but I don't think he was saying we have great air...but rather that the statistics that show the air as failing by CAA standards are slightly schewed. I have always thought the air quality around the ship channel and east of the city was rather poor and I don't think anyone would argue that...but centrally and further North, West, and South were substantially better...and that may not be reflected here. I am not sure the air quality in, for example, Uptown would be substantially worse than another major metropolitan area..say Atlanta, Dallas, Philly, Chicago, Phoenix...etc.

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I'm certainly not educated in this argument, but can tell you as a matter of fact, that LA is FAR worse than Houston in the smog department.

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Interesting stuff Niche...It is no secret the ship channel area is no bueno, but I have read many studies that showed Houston and most suburbs' air quality is only slightly below the national average. Which is why this article came as news to me... Most lament flat Houston with no hills, but those hills in LA trap all that crappy air!!!

Aside from car and especially truck traffic (which have more localized effects), a lot of the issue in suburbia is a result of land development. All those dozers scraping dirt turn it up into the air, and it does end up in people's lungs, and it is a legitimate issue. But its not a Clean Air Act issue.

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If Houston is the Energy Capital of The World, you would think if would approach greener energy practices. I think Mayor White has done a good job thus far in proposing or initiating certain "green" practices. Personally, I would like busses, taxis, and city/county owned vehicles switched to more efficient technologies. I think we can be the Energy Capital of The World, while at the same time being known as a leader when it comes to a greener city.

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If Houston is the Energy Capital of The World, you would think if would approach greener energy practices. I think Mayor White has done a good job thus far in proposing or initiating certain "green" practices. Personally, I would like busses, taxis, and city/county owned vehicles switched to more efficient technologies. I think we can be the Energy Capital of The World, while at the same time being known as a leader when it comes to a greener city.

I think we are more than people realize. It was reported just a few weeks ago about how many green buidlings we have. I don't remember the specifics.

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Well, I say "Big Deal". We supply most of the energy that is used to run this nation and those who don't like that can just go an freeze in the dark

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The feds have mandated much cleaner diesel and gasoline over the last 10 years. Houston based corporations lead the world in building the facilities that implement the new standards.

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I say to those who don't like this fact to go and freeze in the dark.

Are we to gather from your comment that you LIKE the fact that Texas leads the nation by a large margin in CO2 emissions?

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Are we to gather from your comment that you LIKE the fact that Texas leads the nation by a large margin in CO2 emissions?

CO2 emissions go hand in hand with energy production. That is not going to change anytime soon. I think that the point I was making is that those emissions are a result of supplying almost the entire rest of the nation with energy to heat their homes, keep their lights on, and fuel their SUV's. That article was biased and did not offer any significant suggestions for changing the equation.

If you speaking of toxic emissions, that would be a whole different ballgame. That is where Texas has a real problem. CO2 - that is just a favorite media buzzword these days.

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CO2 emissions go hand in hand with energy production. That is not going to change anytime soon. I think that the point I was making is that those emissions are a result of supplying almost the entire rest of the nation with energy to heat their homes, keep their lights on, and fuel their SUV's. That article was biased and did not offer any significant suggestions for changing the equation.

If you speaking of toxic emissions, that would be a whole different ballgame. That is where Texas has a real problem. CO2 - that is just a favorite media buzzword these days.

The article was quoting the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration. If the numbers are biased, I suppose the bias comes from George Bush's government. Since the EIA did not offer any suggestions for changing the equation, neither did the article.

I am intrigued that the state of Texas supplies nearly the entire nation with energy to heat their homes. I had always thought that Texas generates electricity for its own use. We are on no one else's grid. Has that changed? Natural gas, the most common heating source, is burned where it is used, not where it is found. So, it would not be a big contributor to our CO2, except what we burn ourselves. As for SUVs, the article correctly pointed out that Texans buy and drive far more trucks and SUVs than those of other states. So, the problem with SUVs is our own. And, Texas only supplies about 25% of oil refining capacity, not all of it, as you suggest.

As for CO2 being a media buzzword...well, I won't waste my time with that one.

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OK, so the Niche wants us to believe that the bad air quality largely due to the plants along the ship channel doesn't affect most of the city?

So, we don't have to worry about the prevailing Southeastern winds that blow that crap in our direction almost all summer long because said pollution just stays in place?

I feel so much better.

COMMON SENSE, people!!!!!!

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So, we don't have to worry about the prevailing Southeastern winds that blow that crap in our direction almost all summer long because said pollution just stays in place?

I feel so much better.

COMMON SENSE, people!!!!!!

Wind is our friend. It quickly dilutes the concentration of those pollutants. The worst thing that can happen is not to have wind. Then the pollutants can become highly concentrated in one place...and toxicity is all about dose.

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CDeb, you know it would take days to list all of the ways in which Niche's "we have the best air in the world" post is full of it.

And we're asking you to just name one..

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And we're asking you to just name one..

I've named exactly the same number as he has. I'll be more than happy to match him link for link.

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This is an awesome win ppl, if Texas businesses/community can continue the same kind of attitude and excuses like in this thread, in spite of these reports, then we shall have no problem claiming the top prize next time. One of the top polluters is not enough, we need to be the top. Go Texas. More pickups and suvs.

Edited by webdude

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he bottom line is that our regional air pollution issues are really very localized, and typically don't affect residences. This is in stark contrast to places such as LA, which have historically had major problems that actually were regional in scope. The EPA has recognized that Houston complies pretty well with the spirit of the law, and they've cut us a break in the past where the consequences are concerned.

So you see, if is only polluted in places like Pasadena, then there really is no problem. It's all misleading measurements! And we have wind! And that is why we don't have the optimal number of deaths from pollution! :wacko:

Anyway, I am curious as to why we are a leader - if that is the word - in CO2. I would assume a heavy concentration of industry and inefficient cars. It would be interesting to see what changes would result from a nationwide "cap and trade" market.

Note merged dupe topics.

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Anyway, I am curious as to why we are a leader - if that is the word - in CO2. I would assume a heavy concentration of industry and inefficient cars. It would be interesting to see what changes would result from a nationwide "cap and trade" market.

You think it might have anything to do with the combination of having the nation's second largest population, being the second-largest state (behind the state with the least population), and having a manufacturing base that is disproportionately fossil-fuel-intensive? Cars really aren't the big bad boogeyman that they're typically made out to be; the big culprits in the grand scheme are electricity production and industry. There really isn't much mystery to this.

Cap and Trade on CO2 means three things: 1) initially, only those industries with the best profit margins can survive, 2) then energy-intensive manufacturing processes are outsourced to countries that aren't bound to that legislation, and possibly 3) longer out, innovation gets spurred to engage in the same manufacturing process with a lower carbon footprint. In any case, what consumers experience is scarcity-driven then currency-driven inflation. Not fun.

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Texas still outpaces the combined emissions of California and Pennsylvania, the states with the second- and third-highest CO2 outputs.

Population of California - 36.5 million

Population Pennsylvania - 12.5 million

Combined population - 49 million

Population Texas - 23.5 million

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Cap and Trade on CO2 means three things: 1) initially, only those industries with the best profit margins can survive, 2) then energy-intensive manufacturing processes are outsourced to countries that aren't bound to that legislation, and possibly 3) longer out, innovation gets spurred to engage in the same manufacturing process with a lower carbon footprint. In any case, what consumers experience is scarcity-driven then currency-driven inflation. Not fun.

Forgive me for saying this, but do you have any particular evidence for these sweeping assertions, or are they just things you would like to be true? The EU ETS cap and trade regime is in operation, and it has hardly been driving industries out of business. Believe it or not, some are benefiting quite handily from it. A lot of energy-intensive manufacturing ends up in other countries anyway, but the big impact of cap and trade is directed at ones that aren't going anywhere, viz. power generation. The problem with simplistic predictions apparently drawn from Ec 101 textbooks is that they ignore the ability of firms to change behavior, adapt, and innovate. That is the same mistake that other alarmists made back in the 1970s predicting the world would starve.

By way of background, I should add that part of my job consists of ongoing assessment of my firm's ETS CO2 position. I'm far from an expert in the field, but I do need to at least understand the basics of the carbon markets. Believe me, the sky is hardly falling down because of it.

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The EU ETS cap and trade regime is in operation, and it has hardly been driving industries out of business. Believe it or not, some are benefiting quite handily from it. A lot of energy-intensive manufacturing ends up in other countries anyway, but the big impact of cap and trade is directed at ones that aren't going anywhere, viz. power generation. The problem with simplistic predictions apparently drawn from Ec 101 textbooks is that they ignore the ability of firms to change behavior, adapt, and innovate. That is the same mistake that other alarmists made back in the 1970s predicting the world would starve.

By way of background, I should add that part of my job consists of ongoing assessment of my firm's ETS CO2 position. I'm far from an expert in the field, but I do need to at least understand the basics of the carbon markets. Believe me, the sky is hardly falling down because of it.

The specific impact of a cap (especially among individual firms, like yours) is in large part dependent upon how it is implemented, I'll grant you that much. But if industrial CO2 output is regulated by way of a cap and trade system, as the economy grows, it is limited in how it can grow. Tradeoffs must be made or impacts must be mitigated (as you put it, "firms change behavior, adapt, and innovate), but that isn't free. To the extent that there are additional costs associated with either buying carbon credits or utilizing alternative production methods, they get passed on to the consumer. To the extent that it is less expensive to pick up and move to a less restrictive country, that's also a viable option for many firms.

I don't really understand how you're comparing me to the Club of Rome or Chicken Little. You can't ignore the reality that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

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