How to Fit Houston’s Growing Population; An Original Allen Brothers Map Has a New Home; ‘America’s Most Expensive Foreclosure’ Is on River Oaks Blvd.

Photo of the 59 bridge: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


11 Comment

  • Seems like the new park and ride could just bring riders to the north end of the red line.

  • Cool, Metro is smart the woodlands park and ride buses are outrageously expensive. $13 one way? No wonder no one rides them.

  • That River Oaks Manse … is there anything more Texas than selling your oil company for $900 million in 2009, and less than 10 years later losing your yacht and your house in foreclosure? The Kallops are living that Houston dream.

  • Population 10M by 2040… I wonder if this projection takes into account the IPCC projections

  • That foreclosure on RO Blvd is just plain fugly. Layer upon layer of garish bad taste.

  • 100% agree with Dr. P.
    It’s as if they couldn’t decide on a McMansion, a mausoleum, or a casino, so they combined the three.

  • Did anyone actually live in that foreclosure?

  • @detroix… Rising water Houston can deal with. The world stopping the use of fossil fuels… not so much. The IPCC itself is more of a threat to Houston than climate change.

  • @Jgriff — the world has made big changes before. And Houston is probably going to be dealing with a lot more than rising water in the business-as-usual case. Whether or not you believe the warming and weather issues, the rising level of CO2 in the air is reacting measurably with the world’s oceans, making them more acidic. This is a clear and undisputed fact. When that happens enough, you get to the point where carbonate shells (needed by most of the organisms at the bottom of all the major marine food chains) just can’t keep from dissolving. That possibility alone — total collapse of ocean fishing — should be enough for people to be taking this stuff seriously. But nope, it’s too expensive to pay upfront now to avoid catastrophic future costs, right?

    Whether or not there’s uncertainty on the exact extent of what the damage will be, the ONLY responsible thing to do is to be taking this seriously. But instead we’ve wasted 4 decades bickering and yelling at each other about industry-promoted nonsense, when we could have been making less drastic changes that still gradually moved us away from potential danger. Now anything we do is going to have to be much faster, and hurt a lot more.


    1. Implement a broad carbon emissions tax on producers (including on combustible fuels sold, by anticipated CO2 release/volume, and on low-efficiency calories sources like beef). Start it small, and gradually ramp it up from minimal to severe over a 15 year period — this is enough of a time horizon for industries to plan. Use an upfront fund (created by finishing that Pentagon audit that was never completed, and maybe by rolling back some of last year’s corporate tax giveaway, plus revenue from the carbon tax) to subsidizing transportation, food, and heating costs for the poorest citizens until emissions start to be seriously offset in those utility and production sectors.
    2. Meanwhile, seriously commit to subsidizing and incentivizing research and development of storage/battery capacity for solar/wind/tidal energy sources, as well as development of hydrogen (new tech in the works) and algal/chemosynthetic biofuel sources for mobile vehicle needs (which has the added benefit of carbon sequestration, potentially). We went to the moon in a decade; we can figure out how to make a giant fucking battery or two in that time.
    3. Let the market do its thing, and over time shift toward using the tax revenue to retrain displaced coal, oil& gas miners/field workers and refinery operators. (Clean industry is still gonna need engineers and lawyers, but they might need some retraining help too).
    4. Continue to allow some oil/gas extraction for critical chemical needs (e.g., plastic feedstocks for critical uses, etc.); invest in some of the work being done to convert previously “unrecyclable” plastics back into valuable chemical feedstocks to reduce need for new oil extraction, and to incentivize global plastic waste collection. The drop in oil production will make previously uneconomical recycling profitable and drive technologies to bring the price down. And once plastic trash is suddenly valuable — look at that! A large segment of the Global Poor have easy access to a resource that could provide them an income in the short term.

    All that doesn’t look impossible to me — it looks difficult but necessary, and beneficial in the long run.

  • @Jgriff — sorry, I see now you said *Houston* couldn’t deal with it, not *the world*. I’m, uh… hair-trigger defensive on environmental topics these days. It’s a pretty disheartening moment in a lot of ways for folks who study policy.