|Oil and gas refinery? Or something else?|
You may remember that I went to southeastern New Mexico over my winter vacation. High Country News recently published an article on oil and gas extraction titled "Lessons from boom and bust in New Mexico," which brought that trip back to mind. There, oil and gas exploitation dominates the landscape. There is no urban clutter to distract from the pump jacks and gas flares. The night sky is orange from the natural gas burned off, relieving pressure on extraction equipment. The air stinks like cancer, and you drive past warning signs saying: "Danger: Toxic Fumes when lights flashing".
|It's all your fault, car (not really).|
Additionally, one could argue that fossil fuels built Texas. Without oil, we'd be just another south central Ag state. Our economy might be more similar to that of Oklahoma. The Texas GDP, at $1.6 trillion, is second only to California in the United States. Our state's GDP is higher than that of Australia. This quick money does come at a public cost. Policy wonks call these "externalities." These costs are borne by those other than the organization which incurred them; and they include the poor air quality and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
|Climate Central's summer and winter projections for Fort Worth, year 2100|
|Projected precipitation changes (%) by year 2100|
In a more basic, blind luck sense, precipitation changes are much harder to predict than temperature. While the scientific consensus is that the Earth will warm, the atmospheric eddies that determine rainfall are harder to model. You may notice that coastal areas are projected to increase in temperature more slowly than regions in the middle of the continent. This effect is due to buffering from the oceans. Water absorbs heat when it evaporates. Perhaps, if the air-stream shifts just so, we'll get enough moisture to prevent the "Arizonification" of Texas. Perhaps.
|Don't be sad. Look at the pretty gypsum dunes!|