The QueQue: Children’s climate crusade, Intelligent design on the march, Principals are the real school bullies?, A lot of frackin’ water
Published: July 20, 2011
Children’s climate crusade
Commissioners with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality uniformly (3-0) rejected a petition by a (adult-aided) children’s movement calling on the state to take action on climate change, but watch for an appeal to hit this week.
The petition led by Kids vs. Global Warming, founded by a 12-year-old Californian, and Our Children’s Trust argues that Texas — the most greenhouse-gas polluting state in the nation — has the responsibility to interrupt and dampen dangerous changes in the global climate underway — changes “to be felt most by today’s young people and the unborn … people who have no possibility of protecting their own rights and their future well-being.”
The group specifically requested that the state adopt a greenhouse-gas reduction plan and begin reducing its total contribution by 6 percent per year by 2013.
On June 27, TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw wrote that the state has a fundamental disagreement with the EPA over “how, or if” greenhouse gases should be regulated. He argues that changes in one state, or a collection of states, did not have the power to affect climate change. Thus, we are left to extrapolate: combating climate change is a hopeless endeavor.
San Antonio has not taken the same position. Our revitalized push for clean (greenhouse-gas free) energy under Mayor Julián Castro and CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby includes plans to close our dirtiest coal plant, while purchasing power from a proposed “clean” coal plant to be built outside Odessa. But how tied the Summit Power project is to the effective elimination of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is unclear. Summit plans on capturing more than 90 percent of its CO2 to sell to oil companies to use in teasing up remaining oil reserves in declining wells. However, with Republicans in Congress seeking to dismantle the little progress that has been made on climate policy, it could ultimately be left to CPS and Summit how seriously to treat the carbon disposal.
Intelligent design on the march
It would seem Texas and Chuck Darwin are just not cut out for each other. As the State Board of Education goes into a fresh round of meetings, they are led by new Perry-appointee Barbara Cargill. And the religious-right watchdog group Texas Freedom Network lost no time outing her for stoking the fires of division on the board. In a videotaped address before a Texas Eagle Forum this month, TFN noted, Cargill questioned the faith and politics of her fellow board members, insisting she was one of only “six true conservative Christians on the board.”
Cargill takes the lead as the SBOE decides this week on supplemental science materials for public schools. Cargill, herself a longtime science teacher, pushed in 2009 to nominate an outside intelligent-design creationist to the board’s science standards review panel, helping introduce language pointing out the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution into classroom material. While Democrats and moderate Republicans on the board voted against the language, Cargill and the board’s social-conservative block managed to water down textbooks’ focus on evolution.