Superstorms Pose a Threat to America’s Energy Capital

A new Reuters report reveals that greater Houston, Texas, the city devastated by Hurricane Ike six years ago, faces a rising threat from the fallout from global climate change, especially the intense “superstorms” predicted by scientists to occur in the coming decades.  Ike clobbered Galveston Bay and the nearby metropolitan areas in 2008, destroying 80% of Galveston’s homes and causing $30 billion in damage.

Now, with sea levels rising on the Texas Gulf, the report says the danger is growing. Houston is the center of the nation’s energy industry and home to one of the world’s busiest ports. The entire area, once marshy wetlands, is lined with suburban tracts and at least $100 billion in oil refineries, chemical plants and related infrastructure. Metro Houston accounts for about 26 percent of U.S. gasoline production, 42 percent of base chemicals production, and 60 percent of jet fuel output. There are proposals to protect the area with dikes and levees, but so far the plans haven’t gained political traction.