The following comments are mine (Barb Adams) and do not reflect those of my co-host, John J. Higgins, or my network, Genesis Communications.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on what happened in Texas this past week as well as in the country as a whole this past year. We’ve seen our healthcare system pushed to its limits by the pandemic and our political system pushed to the brink by a lying, self-serving autocrat.
The situation in Texas this week didn’t have to happen, just as those other things aforementioned didn’t have to happen. Texans were within hours of losing their entire power grid in the state and, in turn, becoming a failed state. My sister, who lives on the southeast coast of Texas, was one of millions of innocent Texans forced to fend for themselves for almost a week.
As Americans, we should be able to expect a few things from our politicians, like having them work for us to help keep the power on and the water running and being there for us during a crisis.
But when Mother Nature decided to show her might this past week, what did Texas Republican leadership do? Lyin’ Fled Cruz was putting on the Ritz in Cancun, Mexico, while his constituents back home were kept in the dark. But I guess we can’t blame him for crossing the border, right? He and his wife just wanted their children to be safe, to have basic sanitary services like heat and running water and to leave behind a third-world apocalyptic nightmare for a safer place. Others, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, played the phony politicized blame game, pointing fingers at the Green New Deal saying how it would be such a deadly deal for the U.S. because their wind power shut down. They failed to mention, however, that unlike other states and countries that regularly use wind to produce power, Texas neglected to add heating systems to their wind turbines, which led to the freeze-ups and subsequent failures. And neither mentioned that collectively, wind and solar power in Texas only accounts for 10% of their power grid and it was failures by natural gas plants that were not weatherized which had the larger impact on the Texas spike in the grid and electrical failures. Abbott also pointed the finger at ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, an independent organization that operates Texas’s power grid. Unlike the rest of the nation, Texas seceded its electricity from the federal system to avoid regulation, a decision which will certainly come under scrutiny now as people freeze and die when they need power most.
And for those Texas lawmakers who made fun of California for its wildfires and power problems, guess what, power problems are obviously bipartisan. Seems Senator Ted Cruz was quick to pile on when he stated last August, “California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity…” Ask your constituents in Texas, Mr. Cruz, what they’re thinking right now about your abilities to provide basic functions of civilization, like electricity and running water.
But here’s the thing. While Texas says “It’s like a whole other country,” it isn’t, it’s still part of the United States and everything’s interconnected so when one link goes down, there are repercussions elsewhere. Covid vaccines in Florida have been affected by the Texas storm and the pause in oil production has sent prices to a 13-month high.
Sadly, the suffering and deaths during this past week’s Texas deep freeze were preventable, caused by that state’s decision to not weatherize its energy systems even after being warned about the change in the climate coming.
Climate change is the root cause of extreme weather events and renewable, green energy must be our future to prevent even worse disasters than the ones we’re already experiencing. Left unchecked, natural ecosystems and our ability to produce food will be destroyed in many parts of the world, leading to growing instability and, ultimately, wars.
Under the Trump administration, we were set back on research and development towards combating climate change. Today, with Biden/Harris, we move forward once again, returning to the Paris Climate Accord and a commitment to balance meaningful cuts in emissions with political and financial realities. As President Biden stated when speaking to the Munich security conference on Friday, “We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change. This is a global existential crisis, and all of us will suffer if we fail.”
Biden plans to host world leaders for an Earth Day Summit, and has settled on a U.S. emissions goal by April. Republican leaders are already fighting it.
The unfolding power crisis, Covid-19, and all the political upheaval of this past year reminds us that as a nation and as part of the whole of modern civilization, we depend on interconnected systems that are complicated yet easy to disrupt. The power system in Texas is being restored; we now have vaccines for Covid-19; but climate change will not be an easy fix.
As humans, we all want the same thing…a safe place to live on this planet we can call home, with clean food and water. Increasingly, however, climate change’s impacts are becoming more serious and frequent and unless we act now, we will all be left in the cold and dark, fighting for our very existence.
Each week I ask, “What will it take for us to rid ourselves of this darkness once and for all?” Will we rise and unite to save ourselves from a collective fate of failure as humans, or will we allow that darkness put forth by the few to dictate that failure?
JOIN Barb and John as they discuss The Coming Storm.
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