In Passing

Gleanings and shorter reports from TCN

September 1, 2019

Marine heat waves can kill crucial coral reefs outright, new study finds

Scientists already knew climate change threatened reefs like the Flower Garden Banks off Texas with a process called bleaching. Now, they’ve learned hotter ocean temperatures also kill coral without that condition happening.

July 21, 2019

For Apollo 11’s Michael Collins, view from the moon showed Earth’s fragility

For the 50th anniversary of the first moon-walking mission, Collins told the BBC that while piloting the command module in lunar orbit he was struck by how Earth was “a fragile little thing” in the black vastness of space.

June 25, 2019

Proposed high-speed train gets through Legislature without derailment

Proponents say the project will reduce Houston-Dallas travel times and greenhouse pollution. Despite avoiding legislative roadblocks for a third session, it still faces opposition from rural residents and others.

March 11, 2019

Climate change, warming oceans and an iconic, endangered sea turtle

Scientists are examining the negative impacts of warmer waters on marine ecosystems. One study recorded a dramatic increase in temperature-linked strandings of Kemp's Ridley turtles, a rare species that mainly nests in Texas.

February 26, 2019

Border-wall brawl dominates attention amid more climate-migration reports

A congressional watchdog agency. A scientific journal. National Geographic. These were some of the recent publishers of new reports as researchers and journalists examine ways climate change is propelling migration.

July 13, 2018

New national poll: Record-high numbers see human hand in climate change

The survey found a big and growing partisan divide on basic questions about climate change. Overall, 73 percent now say there is "solid evidence" of global warming – 50 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats.

June 12, 2018

Gulf fish populations among those shifting in response to climate change

Fish are sensitive to water temperature and, as climate change warms ocean waters, their distribution is changing. A recent study projects some species off U.S. coasts shifting northward to more suitable temperature ranges.

May 21, 2018

Impact of changing climate on bee populations remains poorly understood

Bumblebees are key pollinators, helping restock blueberries, tomatoes, peppers and other plants. Data suggest they may be dwindling in Texas. New research seeks to plug knowledge gaps and identify conservation priorities.

April 24, 2018

Most Houston-area residents call climate change a ‘very serious problem’

The “very serious” view prevails in the oil capital by a whopping 30-point margin, a respected Rice University opinion survey found. Two-thirds of area residents blame human activities as the main reason the climate is changing.

April 11, 2018

Border wall threatens ‘substantial’ harm to biodiversity, scientists warn

Texas will be hardest hit with ecosystem damage from new barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, a team of biologists reported after reviewing 14 scientific publications. Barriers will destroy and fragment habitat, they wrote.

April 2, 2018 HEALTH+CLIMATE

Walkable cities are friendlier – but what if climate change makes it too hot to walk?

Just a few extra degrees can turn a healthy walk harmful. Human-scale urban design will have to protect walkers from rising temperatures. Texas A&M researchers aimed to quantify how much vegetation is needed.

February 5, 2018

White House yanks nomination of Texan White for key environmental slot

Kathleen Hartnett White’s doubts about climate science drew opposition from scientists, environmentalists and Democrats. She faced an uphill climb in the Senate where several Republicans declined to commit to voting for her.

January 24, 2018

Texan Kathleen Hartnett White again faces a Senate confirmation gantlet

White’s stalled nomination to head the White House environmental council has drawn intense opposition from scientists and others. A Houston Chronicle editorial said she “recklessly dismisses” the threats of climate change.

November 29, 2017

Senate panel OKs Texan science doubter to head U.S. environmental council

Kathleen Hartnett White has voiced doubt about the sweeping scientific consensus on climate change for years. A fellow at a conservative think tank, she formerly led Texas' principal environmental regulatory agency.

June 21, 2017

Perry signals return to his earlier science-denying stance on climate change

The Energy Department chief mocked climate science as Texas governor. Now he dismisses researchers’ consensus conclusion – that pollution mainly drives climate change. Scientists are trying to school him.

June 8, 2017

Polls: Americans give thumbs down to exiting Paris climate accord [Updated]

President Trump’s action was a big loser among Democrats and independents. But it scored well among Republicans, which led some analysts to suggest it might help shore up support among his most dedicated fans.

March 31, 2017

State, city leaders square off over Trump’s move to kill Clean Power Plan

While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hailed the action to end the Obama initiative, Houston’s Sylvester Turner and Austin’s Steve Adler were among U.S. mayors affirming the plan and the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

January 17, 2017

Large majority opposes Trump’s pledge to get out of Paris Climate Agreement

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found Americans, by a 56-31 margin, want the U.S. to stay in the pollution-cutting pact. Another poll found 61 percent, counter to Trump, want the EPA's powers strengthened or preserved.

January 11, 2017

2016 in Texas: 3rd warmest year, a slew of weather and climate disasters

2016 was the second warmest year on record in the contiguous 48 states, NOAA reported. Besides having its third warmest year since 1895, Texas experienced nearly half of of the nation’s costliest meteorological events.

December 23, 2016 RECORDS

Readings through November: 2016 is likely to be hottest year on record

“Long-term indicators of human-caused climate change, including record carbon dioxide concentrations, and glacier melt, and low sea ice, continued” this year, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization reported.

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