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Houston energy transition events not to miss, expert commentary on climate crisis, and more things to know

Houston energy transition folks — here's what to know to start your week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: Start your week off strong with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a roundup of events not to miss, a new Houston energy executive to know, and more.

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

    • Future of Energy Summit is Tuesday, February 6, at AC Hotel by Marriott Houston Downtown. Register.
    • The 2024 NAPE Summit is Wednesday, February 7, to Friday, February 9, at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It's the energy industry’s marketplace for the buying, selling and trading of prospects and producing properties. Register.
    • The De Lange Conference, taking place February 9 and 10 at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, is centered around the theme “Brave New Worlds: Who Decides? Research, Risk and Responsibility” this year. Register.
    • The Future of Energy Across the Americas: Helping Lawyers Predict and Adapt — the 2024 Houston Energy Conference — is February 27 to March 1. Register.
    • CERAWeek 2024 is Monday, March 18, to Friday, March 22, in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Register.

    ​Commentary: Chris Wood, co-founder of Moonshot Compost, on loving the climate apocalypse​

    Chris Wood knows that the last thing anyone wants to be reminded of in 2024 is the impending climate apocalypse, but, as he writes in his guest column, "There is a scientific consensus that the world climate is trending towards uninhabitable for many species, including humans, due in large part to results of human activity."

    He cites a report that 93 percent “believe that climate change poses a serious and imminent threat to the planet.”

    "Until recently reviewing this report, I was unaware that 93 percent of any of us could agree on anything," he writes. "It got me thinking, how much of our problem today is based on misunderstanding both the nature of the problem and the solution?" Read more.

    New hire: Bracewell names new partner to advise clients on energy transition tax incentives

    Bracewell announced that Jennifer Speck has joined the firm's tax department as a partner in the Houston office. Speck will advise clients on energy transition tax incentives.

    Some of her experiences include onshore and offshore wind, solar, carbon capture, clean hydrogen and clean fuel projects. She recently served as senior manager of tax and regulatory compliance at Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC. She graduated in 2010 with a B.F.A. in mental health psychology from Northeastern State University, and received her J.D., with honors, from The University of Tulsa College of Law in 2012. Read more.

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    A View From HETI

    Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

    A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

    The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

    Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

    New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

    In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

    “And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

    The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

    Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

    “Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

    Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

    Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

    Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

    Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

    “Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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    This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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