The more I think about this…
We’ve spent 30 years ish convinced that too much CO2 was going to warm the planet. The answer was to reduce CO2 emissions.
The debate that never really happened was between reducing CO2 emissions on one hand, and adapting ourselves to different weather on the other.
Assume for the moment that it’s all true: This Texas deep freeze really was caused by CO2 driven climate change. (It wasn’t, but work with me.)
What the last couple of weeks have exposed is the fragility of their engineering and building practices. The vast majority of the suffering in Texas would have never happened if Texas’ systems had been built to Michigan standards.
I’m talking about basic infrastructure like water utilities, natural gas distribution, how water lines are run in houses, the gauge of cable used for electric transmission lines, etc.
Instead of dealing with mundane stuff like that, we’ve spent 30 years spending countless billions addressing the wrong problem. We’ve spent 30 years making electric generation more fragile. Which is to say we’ve spent 30 years addressing the wrong problem because of ideology.
Back to reality. The question of the moment is whether this winter was a once in 100 years anomaly or if this will be happening repeatedly. The tragic truth is we probably don’t have the scientific wherewithal to know, and even if we do, our science has been so thoroughly captured by ideologues we can’t trust it.
There really are two choices. We can build harder, more robust infrastructure, or we can build lighter, more efficient infrastructure. Those two options are in direct opposition to each other.
For 50 years, the implicit assumption has been that lighter infrastructure was inherently better. Even before we thought up global warming.
But that assumption was always wrapped inside of a “static Earth hypothesis”…something of an arrogance that assumes the only reason things ever change is because humans changed it. If humans would stop disrupting the system, it would stop changing.
A cursory examination of history (ie, we know about ice ages) exposes how silly that is.
We’ll see how Texas responds. I think they’ve learned a lesson about fragility. My guess is the public isn’t going to want to hear about ice caps and polar bears. They want to hear about what’s going to be done to improve reliability.