As millions of people in the South find themselves without power for a third day due to record-breaking winter storms, some have wondered why Texas isn’t turning to other states for help.
To answer this, there are two important points to take in consideration, one about the electrical grid and other about climate change.
Let’s start with the electrical grid. Texas, as opposed to the rest of the country, has its own electrical grid that is NOT connected to other states. 90% of the state’s power supply is connected to a grid entirely within state lines. Texas has an independent grid because of its response to the 1935 Federal Power Act, which gave the federal government authority to regulate power companies engaged in interstate commerce. Texas power companies agreed not to sell power outside of Texas, which allowed them to avoid federal regulation. Now, almost 100 years later, nothing has changed. Libertarians and rightwing politicians have kept this absurd situation in place. Millions of people have been left in the dark and cold for days because of one federal legislation. It’s really ironic that the state most identified with energy (oil production) is now without any electrical power. Can you imagine, in 2021, to be without electricity for 3 days? No power for your phone, TV, computer, refrigerator, boiler, heater, cable modem, wifi, tablet, stove, coffee machine, toaster, microwave, lights, washing machine, clock, dryer, speakers ….and the list goes on.
As Texas and other portions of the country shelter in place and brace for a second wave of winter storms, some are questioning what role climate change played on these extreme weather patterns across the country.
Chris Gloninger, a meteorologist with NBC10 Boston, explained that there was a definite connection.
“There are waves in the jet stream and because of climate change and the warmer air in the Arctic and the largely ice-free Arctic sea, those waves are able to go far south,” said Gloninger. “So places like Alaska or Iceland, which today is in the low 40s, is warmer than places like Texas, Louisiana or Oklahoma. That’s why we’re seeing these extremes.”
Today, Texas is faced with two old concepts of society that are absolutely obsolete. The first is of the individualist society that doesn’t need any connection to or coordination with the Federal or International level, besides, the “normal” business transactions that apply to the oil market. This white-male egocentric individualism is dead and has no future. The second issue is to understand that climate change is real and needs to be taken into consideration. The state needs to adapt and modify its infrastructure in order to be as prepared and ready for climatic change (sea level, temperature, clean water, etc). It will have also to push the oil companies to become green energy companies. For this to happen, it will need a profound transformation of its political landscape. The political change needs to be as strong as the climate change itself. It is time to fire these political demagogues who have created this unimaginable situation, left a state powerless with millions in the dark (obscurantism) and cold (heartless).
I can’t imagine what Texans are facing right now. but I definitely can imagine what they can do tomorrow to transform their lives and create a different future.