Tag Archives: Texas coast

‘Climate change’ anyone?

I am acutely aware that one cannot pigeonhole weather forecasting into neat categories.

What’s more, I also know that trying to predict what Mother Nature brings to any region is a crapshoot even in the best of circumstances.

But what in the world is going on this week?

Here we are in the Texas High Plains region. We’re tinder dry. It’s cold, but we’re continuing this dry pattern that’s beginning to cause the TV weather forecasters some anxiety.

Then we get news that snow is blanketing regions of this state and points east. It’s snowing this week in regions where (a) it hardly ever snows and (b) the snow is supposed to fall long after it blankets the Texas Panhandle.

We remain snow free. The Texas Gulf Coast is under several inches of snow. My friends along the Coastal Bend, Houston and the Golden Triangle are bundling up and driving ever so slowly and cautiously in conditions with which they are totally unfamiliar.

Is all of this a symptom of climate change? I’ve long argued that one cannot take a single weather event and equate it with whatever might be happening globally. I usually argue that it’s best to argue climate change by seeing the big picture.

This very weird reversal right here in big ol’ Texas, though, seems to suggest to me that we might be witnessing one element of a much bigger weather story.

Climate change not a local matter?

My hometown newspaper, the (Portland) Oregonian has just announced that climate change won’t be on its agenda of important issues on which to comment in 2015.

I have a single initial response: Wow!


The editorial, while written well — as always — seems to miss a fundamental point about climate change as it affects a coastal state, such as Oregon.

The issue is a local one that well could impact many thousands of people living in that state.

The editorial, in part, states: “Our editorials, like those of other news organizations, reflect a set of values with which regular readers are surely familiar. However, ideology has nothing to do with the scarcity of climate-change editorials. We seldom discuss climate change, rather, because we focus almost exclusively on state and local matters. Weighing the costs and benefits of climate-change policy is best done at the federal and international levels.”

” … we focus almost exclusively on state and local matters,” the editorial states.

Roll that one around for a moment.

Climate change, as I understand, is having an impact at many levels all around the world. One of those levels — pardon the pun — is the rising sea level of the oceans and the affect it will have on coastal regions.

Oregon has about 300-plus miles of coastline facing the Pacific Ocean. Its coastal region would seem to be as vulnerable to the shifting tides, not to mention the intense weather changes that many scientists attribute to climate change. They’re as vulnerable to these forces as, say, Texas, another significant coastal state.

The Oregonian sought input from its readers on the issues they thought the paper should emphasize. Those who responded didn’t think much of the climate change crisis. The Oregonian, therefore, responded to those who answered their question.

Does that represent a complete, fair and comprehensive view of the paper’s entire readership? I rather doubt it.

Still, my hometown paper — which has been honored with Pulitzer prizes in recent years for its editorial leadership — has chosen to skip what I believe will become one of that region’s primary issues in the coming decades.

Good luck, home folks.