The Future of Texas – The New York Times


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You can prove that Texas with the brightest long-term economic future is Texas.

It is a more affordable place to live than most of the northeast or west coast and still has strong avenues for attracting new residents, including a thriving cultural landscape, population diversity, and top research universities. Primary and middle school performance Much above average In reading and mathematics (especially pre-California), according to Urban Institute.

These strengths helped the people of Texas In height More than 15 percent, or about four million people, over the past decade. In the past few months, two prominent technology companies have – inspiration And the Hewlett-Packard Corporation – They announced that they will transfer their headquarters to the state, and Tesla It may follow soon. Just as California was in the 20th century, Texas today looks like a country that can embody and shape the nation’s future.

But Texas also has a big problem, as the world has just seen. A useful way to think about it is the fossil fuel problem.

Even with growing technology and healthcare industries, the Texas economy revolves around oil and gas. This fossil fuel has created two threats to the country’s economic future.

The first is climate change, which is making Texas a less pleasant place to live. Number of days 95 degrees SoaredSevere hurricanes are becoming more common, including Harvey, who brutalized Houston and the Gulf Coast in 2017. Ironically, climate change may also be Weakening of the jet stream, Which makes spells of cold weather more common.

At the national level, with politicians in Texas play central Function In preventing action to slow climate change. At the local level, the leaders have them Failed to prepare For the new era of extreme weather – including leaving the power grid vulnerable to last week’s cold wave, which in turn left millions of Texans without electricity and water.

Many residents feel abandoned. In Cobras Cove, a central Texas city, Daniel Peterson told my colleague Jack Healy on Saturday that he was furious with officials who had failed to restore electricity six days after it was out. He plans to install a wood-burning stove because, he said, “This will happen again.”

In Dallas, Chris Tomini spent the weekend worried that she would not be able to afford a new home for her and her three children after a leaky tube seeped into her roof and destroyed appliances and furniture. She said, “I don’t know where that leaves me.”

In San Antonio, Juan Flores, a 73-year-old former Marine, told my colleague Julia McDonnell NiTo Del Rio He was frustrated by the lack of contact from local officials. When Julia interviewed Flores, he hadn’t showered for days (and he gently warned her not to stand back while interviewing him, saying, “I stink”). To get enough water to flush his toilet, he walked to a bar. To heat his apartment, he would boil water on his stove.

The second threat is related to climate change but different. This comes from the possibility that alternative energy sources such as wind and solar could become cheap enough to shrink the Texas oil and gas industry.

“The cost advantage of solar and wind power has become critical and is expected to become more and more widespread,” says Noah Smith, a Texas-based economist, He wrote his newsletter Substack. “I don’t want to see my original state economically stagnant, bound by the dead body of the dying fossil fuel era.”

Instead of investing enough in new forms of energy, many Texas politicians have tried to protect fossil fuels. Last week, Governor Greg Abbott went so far as to blame wind and solar power – Falsely To cause a power outage. The main culprit is the failure of natural gas, As these infographics show by my colleague Veronica Penny.

As Smith explains, the Texas energy industry’s best hope is likely to embrace wind and solar power, not a scapegoat. The state, after all, gets a lot of wind and sun. “Texas could be the future, rather than fighting the future,” Smith wrote.

The biggest economic story is here Is common. Seldom will the companies – and places – that have succeeded for decades in a single technology welcome change. Kodak Digital photography was not promoted, and neither the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal created Craigslist.

Texas political and business leaders have made many successful moves in recent decades. Some have shunned Political rigidity That has hampered parts of the Northeast and California, such as zoning restrictions that benefit elderly homeowners at the expense of young families.

But Texas leaders sacrifice the future for the present in a different way. They helped their fossil fuel companies maximize short-term profits at the expense of long-term state welfare. They have resisted regulations and investments that could have made their electricity grid more resilient in the face of severe weather (This story also documents from The Times), And try to stem climate change even as Texans are forced to endure even more miserable weather.

In these ways, Texas offers a different – and more disturbing – approach. A glimpse into the future.

what is happening now:

Ball is life: Serena Abonso, 14, is named after Which – which Serena – She worked as a ball kid at this year’s Australian Open. This is what it looked like in its days.

Media equalization: Investigative journalism is booming in Russia. Ben Smith explains.

who saw: Ross Dothat Rush Limbo is considered. And Jill Collins To discuss the midterm elections next year With Brett Stevens.

Live live: Arturo de Modica, a sculptor and immigrant from Sicily, is best known for its “Charging Bull,” a 3.5-ton bronze that was deposited illegally one night in Lower Manhattan – where it remains a landmark. In Modica he died at the age of 80.

Sales of “computer glasses” have boomed. Many companies that sell blue light glasses – at prices ranging from under $ 20 to over $ 100 – claim that they can help relieve eye strain and improve sleep. But do we really need them?

No, many experts say. “Anyone promising miracles from a pair of glasses that block the blue light, maybe sell something,” Kaitlyn Wells of Wirecutter Books.

Low blue light levels from screens do not appear to cause health problems. There is one company in Britain I had to pay A $ 56,000 fine after making misleading claims that the glasses can protect the retina from damage.

Some experts believe that the blue light – both emitted by sun screens and technology – It can cause sleep problems. But glasses aren’t the only solution. Phone covers It’s often cheaper – and running Night Mode is free, Wirecutter’s editor Tim Barribeau told us. Or, you can just put your phone away two hours before bed.

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