Energy & Environment

Most Of Texas Dodges Hottest Year On Earth

NASA and other research agencies Friday said data show that 2014 was the hottest year ever for planet Earth. But what’s that mean for the state of Texas where leaders question global warming?

The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA scientists.


If last year didn’t feel like the hottest in Texas, scientists who released the latest temperature data would agree. They found the eastern half of the United States — including most of Texas — actually had slightly below average temperatures. But for just about every place else in the world, 2014 was the hottest ever recorded since 1880.

At Rice University, ocean scientist John Anderson says in Texas, what proves global warming is happening isn’t so much the temperatures.

This video shows a time series of five-year global temperature averages, mapped from 1880 to 2014, as estimated by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

“The most compelling evidence for global warming is actually sea level rise,” Anderson told News 88.7. “This is happening now. People can drive down to the coast and see the changes that are occurring.”

Anderson says the science is clear: Humans are causing global warming. But in Texas, state leaders from the governor on down have denied a definitive connection and fought efforts to reduce industrial pollution linked to warming. The chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is a Texas A&M engineering professor, Bryan Shaw, who a year ago talked about his doubts.

“Is manmade climate change real, and if so, how much, because if we don’t know how much then we can’t determine how big of a price and penalty do we pay to try to capture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Shaw said when he took part in a panel discussion at the Texas Tribune Festival in October of 2013.

We asked the TCEQ if Shaw still feels that way. In an email, Shaw responded:

The climate is changing. The 15-plus years without additional warming, however, raises doubt about the IPCC climate models’ ability to predict global temperature, rendering their efficacy questionable as a basis for predicting catastrophic manmade global warming.

Shaw’s critics say Texas stands to suffer greatly from climate change and, as the biggest air polluter in the country, should be doing far more to reduce greenhouse gases.


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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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