TCN Journal

Reporting, analysis, summary, synthesis

December 20, 2017

GOP tax bill leaves most energy subsidies intact – fossil and renewable

Wind, solar, gas and oil production – all important in Texas – have long competed on the battleground of subsidies and tax breaks. None comes out of the tussle over Republicans' tax overhaul with a notable new advantage.

December 8, 2017

Two new studies: Manmade warming made Harvey’s rainfall much worse

Two research efforts – one with involvement by Houston's Rice University – concluded climate change increased the storm's severity. A national opinion poll, meanwhile, found 54 percent of the public already held that view.

December 4, 2017

Conservatives tout carbon tax but draw critics on both left and right

A Rice University forum examined the possibilities of market-based solutions to climate change. But from the left come attacks on the profit motive, from the right disbelief about the underlying science.

November 28, 2017

Coal’s place in Texas’ electricity-generation mix grows ever shakier

The Trump administration insists there’s been a "war on coal" that needs to end. A leading Texas power generator blames something more basic for coal's decline: increasing supplies of cheaper natural gas and renewables.

November 22, 2017

House Science Chair Lamar Smith retires: Whither the attack on climate science?

The Texas congressman is an especially outspoken critic of climate science. But as our Washington correspondent reports, absent Democratic takeover of the House, his panel will likely remain a friendly platform for skeptics.

September 27, 2017

Fast flood-insurance ‘fix’ may elude a broke – and broken – program

Harvey, Irma and Maria just dealt out hundreds of billions in new hurricane devastation as the National Flood Insurance Program is hemorrhaging cash and set to expire. TCN’s Washington correspondent explains the key issues.

September 21, 2017

Harvey’s catastrophic legacy includes pathogens, toxics, festering debris

The astonishing scope of the historic hurricane’s cumulative pollution impact is coming into better focus – sewage-fouled water, toxic industrial releases and piles of potentially contaminated debris from flooded structures.

September 14, 2017

Farewell to a friend: A former TCN editor died amid Harvey’s aftermath

Houstonian Jim Simmon was our deputy editor from 2008 until last year. He apparently drowned at a location where high water lingered for days after the hurricane. We offer an appreciation of a fine man and great journalist.

September 9, 2017

Harvey’s record rainfall: A statistical portrait of what “wettest” meant

“Harvey is head and shoulders above all previous multi-day storms ever recorded in the continental United States,” setting records in 17 rainfall categories, the Texas state climatologist concluded in a detailed analysis.

August 26, 2017

As Harvey slams Texas, scientists explore links of hurricanes, climate change

Even rainier hurricanes and worse Gulf Coast flooding are possible in a warmer world, but not all the evidence is clear, according to a draft federal report on the current state of climate science.

August 18, 2017

Secretive border-wall work at wildlife sanctuaries galvanizes opposition

Hundreds protested in the Rio Grande Valley after word got out that federal officials and contractors were surreptitiously advancing President Trump’s border-wall project in federal and private wildlife preserves.

July 31, 2017 HEALTH+CLIMATE

Researchers: More deadly heat waves, even with aggressive emission cuts

A team of scientists projected the number of days when potentially lethal heat and humidity will occur at different places, with and without big pollution reductions. Texas’ deadly days will soar either way, they calculated.

July 11, 2017

‘Consensus’ or ‘debate’ – the long battle to shape public perception continues

More Americans than ever (58 percent) now say climate change is mostly man-made, a Yale poll found. That's in line with what scientists overwhelmingly agree. Will Trump appointees sow doubt about researchers’ vast consensus?

June 1, 2017

Powerhouse investors tell Exxon (and Trump): Get serious about climate change

Amid signs that the president is poised to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, ExxonMobil investors broke with the company’s board, voting overwhelmingly to demand an annual report on its climate-change risks.

May 28, 2017

Stay or go? Texas Republicans offer competing advice on Paris climate pact

Donald Trump promised to take the U.S. out of the pollution-cutting Paris Climate Agreement. After being lobbied by Pope Francis and other world leaders to stay in the pact, Trump said he’d finally decide shortly.

May 17, 2017 DC DISPATCHES

Wheat or chaff? Weighing the substance of Trump’s actions on climate, energy

The administration’s high-profile steps to reverse Obama-era policies may all seem like big deals. But are they? TCN’s Washington correspondent, Joseph A. Davis, has a forward-looking appraisal of their relative significance.

May 1, 2017

Texas conservation pioneer’s ’90s words echo in 2017’s environmental debates

Terry Hershey’s 1994 thoughts on the 25th anniversary of Earth Day – a time when environmental battles much like today’s were raging – still seem fresh. Hershey, who died in January at 94, was recently honored in Houston.

April 25, 2017

Signs of the times: Edgy sloganeering at Houston’s March for Science

An estimated 15,000 pro-science marchers rallied in Houston on Earth Day. It was one of hundreds of such events – billed as nonpartisan, but with a sharp anti-Trump message on many homemade signs. A TCN photo essay.

April 14, 2017

Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s approach to climate issues coming into focus

As he did during his tenure as Texas governor, Perry is touting an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy as a member of Donald Trump’s cabinet. That put the U.S. at odds with other G7 officials at a meeting in Rome.

March 23, 2017

Public opinion diverges from Trump budget’s policy outline on climate, energy

Americans’ concern about global warming is growing, according to a new Gallup poll. But the Trump administration’s spending plan would bring dramatic cuts in federal programs to address the issue.

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