Climate Denier Ted Cruz of Texas and Houston Record Flooding

Previously I wrote about Republican Candidate Climate Deniers , and the danger that their properties (Trump) or States faced from climate change.  I have to update this today with the record flooding in Houston, where Senator Ted Cruz of Texas lives.  There was a record rainfall of 20 inches, as much as in a year.  More than 1,000 homes have been flooded.  Five people have died.  There were calls for more than 1,500 flooding emergencies.

At peak, 123,000 people were without power.  Seven bayous had overflowed their banks, and two dams were at risk.  650 flights were canceled, and more than 1,100 delayed, according to NBC News.  Schools were canceled.

Can you blame an individual flood on global warming?  No.  But it is worth noting that the last six months have had record global temperatures for those months.

Senator Ted Cruz was elected by the people of Texas to protect them from things such as floods and sea level rise.  Wouldn’t the Conservative approach be to consider that 95% of climate scientists might be right about there being global warming, and that it is caused by fossil fuel burning?  Wouldn’t the Conservative approach be to consider that their prediction of three feet of sea level rise by 2100, which would have serious effects on the Texas coast, might be right enough that it should be prevented or protected against?

The Houston-Galveston flooding shows that these cities are not even protected from serious damage with the current record storms.

There is a Texas commission to get scientists to create a plan to protect Houston, but over the two years it existed, it only met twice, and gave no funding to scientists.  On proposed plan would cost $8 billion.  This reminds me of New York just funding a plan to study sea level rise and flooding, shortly before Sandy hit.

Centers to study and prevent storm damage were founded at Texas A&M and Rice University, but never funded.

Senator Cruz’s rub in is that he is on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  He is also Chairman, Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness,  where he has tried to get NASA out of the business of launching and using satellites to monitor the earth and advance climate science.  He is also a member on the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard.  These are great power subcommittees for him to oppose any action related to the study and effects of climate change.

Here is a quote for the Texas Tribune, dated April 11:  “Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country.  It’s home to the nation’s largest refining and petrochemical complex, where billions of gallons of oil and dangerous chemicals are stored  And it’s a sitting duck for the next big hurricane.”

By the way, these plans are under the authority of Texas’ elected Land Commisioner, George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush, grandson of President George H. W. Bush, and nephew of President George W. Bush.

It turns out that when similar flooding occured in New York and New Jersey with hurricane Sandy in 2012, the second costliest hurricane in US history, Senator Cruz voted against aid to these states.  As I type this, I am waiting for the results of the New York primary.  Do you think they will remember this?  Actually, 36 Senate Republicans voted against the $50.5 billion relief package, which did pass the Senate.  Texans are going to have to ask the Federal government for funds for a solution to their problem.

We show projected Sea Level Rise up to 2100 for all scenarios of CO2 increases by 2100.  The IPCC projection is about 3 feet by 2100.  A new analysis of the mechanics of West Antarctica ice sheet melting shows that that might be low by 2 to 3 feet.

past and projected sea level rise

The main point with global warming predictions, is that they have only slightly set in yet.  By the next 50 or 100 years, the strength of the most dangerous storms are predicted to increase in strength.

The increase in very heavy precipitation in the last 50 years has been 21% on the Gulf Coast, and 15% in the rest of Texas.

US Precip Trends p32_Dec11

It turns out that there is quite a record of extreme rainfall event increases in the US.

Observed US trend in heavy precipitation




About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2016 Primaries, Climate Change, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Politics, Sea Level Rise. Bookmark the permalink.

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