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Castro declares Climate Change Awareness Month as Texas cooks

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But it’s not just North’s evangelical friends that pick on him for embracing mainstream science. The Texas Water Development Board still uses the multi-year 1950’s drought as the drought they weigh our preparedness by. North warned them several years ago that they should plan for stronger droughts occurring with an increasing frequency and found himself “pilloried” in response. This summer is showing he was right, according to Robert Harriss, president and CEO of the Houston Advanced Research Center. “The current drought, the most severe we’ve ever had, is proving to be pretty stressful. We were not prepared for it,” Harriss said.

As researchers found half of the excess heat that cooked Europe in 2003 and claimed more than 30,000 lives was due to global warming, they are also likely to unearth the climate signal behind our current cooking, North said. That is, while global warming isn’t the driving force behind the drought and record-setting temperatures, it’s a key factor. “It’s my opinion that it’s really playing a part,” he said.

Texas Tech atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe sees in this summer a portrait of what the average weather of the mid-century will be like. “This is what it will be like in the future,” she said. “It will be climate change.” And yet, as Harriss points out, Texas agencies simply aren’t planning with that way. It’s the state’s mayors, pushed by their constituents, that are making those tentative first steps. While that makes our Awareness Month no anomaly, it means the effort won’t produce anything more than what residents demand of it.

And with next summer predicted to be a repeat of this one, the time to act is now, Hayhoe said. “If you’re lying on the operating table and they’re about to slice open your chest for a quadruple bypass surgery, that is not the time to swear off McDonald’s and promise to go to the gym every day.” •


For more information about Climate Change Awareness Month, visit

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