Climate Change

At Air Alliance Houston, we recognize the vital importance of addressing the factors driving climate change and that reducing air pollution can mitigate the impacts.

We must address climate change to fight air pollution, and vice versa. Air pollution is a major driver of global warming and, without urgent climate action, our air quality will further deteriorate, with significant health implications. 

Here are some of the ways climate change worsens air pollution:

More Smog

Warmer weather will increase smog, because ground-level ozone forms faster at higher temperatures. Ground-level ozone can trigger asthma attacks and decrease lung function. It is a particular problem in Houston, which has never met national ozone standards. As the climate gets warmer, achieving progress toward clean air will become even more difficult.

More Coastal Storms and Flooding

Each time a storm hits, shutdowns and start-ups of chemical facilities, along with industrial accidents, lead to dramatic increases in air pollution. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, more than 8 million pounds of pollutants were released into the air – more than 6 months’ worth of air pollution in just a few weeks.

More Wildfires

The smoke and soot created by more frequent wildfires in the West and South cause a great amount of air pollution.

More Dust Storms

Rising temperature causes dust storms in places like Mexico, contributing to Particulate Matter (PM) pollution, which lingers in the air for a long time, can travel long distances, and is associated with adverse impacts on health.

Climate Change and Environmental Justice

While global warming knows no boundaries, communities of color, low-wealth neighborhoods, and indigenous populations will be disproportionately affected by compromised health conditions, exacerbating existing financial burdens and the disruption of the social and cultural fabric of communities. 

In addition, there is an inherent unfairness: those most vulnerable and with the fewest resources to adapt to or recover from the impacts of climate change are the least responsible for the emissions causing it – both in the US and globally.

What We’re Doing

We must take immediate action to cut emissions at the source and build resilience to the impacts of an already warming climate, or the consequences will continue to intensify and become ever more damaging.

Climate Resources

We encourage everyone to become familiar with climate change and to take whatever steps they can to mitigate its causes. Explore these further resources to learn more.

Most of Texas has warmed between one-half and one degree (F) in the past century. Severe weather events, and the accompanying air pollution, will hit Texas, including Houston, more often in the future. 

At the same time, Texas’ profile as the largest energy-producing state and the largest energy-consuming state in the nation gives the state a unique opportunity to play an important role in nation-wide efforts to reverse climate change.

The ‘States at Riskproject from Climate Central shows how Americans in different states are experiencing the impacts of climate change. Explore here the top risks for Texas.

The Climate Reality Project aims to spread awareness of the climate change crisis across the world. Also, it gives individuals the power to do something about it by offering a range of resources to support related activism.

Visit the website here to explore the resources available.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. 

The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and response options. The IPCC also produces Special Reports, which are an assessment on a specific issue and Methodology Reports, which provide practical guidelines for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories.

Learn more about the IPCC and the reports here.

Read here the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

Proposed by the Green Party, the Green New Deal is a large campaign to address climate change. It lays out a specific plan to switch the entire United States to renewable energy by the year 2030. It claims that doing so will bring global warming to a halt and help the economy.

To learn more, you should visit the website here.

There are several pieces of federal legislation dealing with carbon pricing. An important one is a bipartisan bill called Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The bill aims to place a fee on fossil fuels, such as oil, gas and coal. This will make renewable sources cheaper, and people will be more apt to use them. The money collected from the fees will be allocated to Americans in the form of a monthly dividend check.

Want to know more about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act? You should read about it here.

Climate change is causing devastating disasters, such as extreme weather events and food insecurity, which can cost hundreds of billions of dollars to society. 

To link this sort of damage to CO2 emissions and to measure it, experts have developed the “social cost of carbon.” This metric yields the precise dollar amount of damage that one ton of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere causes.

Government agencies use the social cost of carbon to estimate the damage that changes to environmental policies could cause as well as to estimate the damage that policies could save.

Want to know more about the social cost of carbon? You should read about it here.

An inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)

Before the Flood (2016)

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Houston Green Film Series features regular screenings of environmental films and documentaries. Sign up here to get Green Film Updates or follow the Houston Green Film Series Facebook page.