Features

Drought, fire threat increasing in Texas again as La Niña takes hold

Fall's mild weather and scant rainfall suggest we may be in for a repeat of harsh conditions last seen in 2011, when the state endured its driest year in more than a century of recordkeeping, plus a punishing heat wave.

TCN Journal ELECTION 2020

Clean energy advocates wrestle with disappointing Texas election results

TCN Journal ELECTION 2020

Biden pledges sweeping climate action but may face Senate pushback

Features ELECTION 2020

Climate change will loom large over the next presidential term

Features ELECTION 2020

Analysis: Trump would continue to boost fossil fuels, spurn climate science

The president’s record and statements, along with statements by administration officials, indicate that the past four years were a vivid prologue to another term: More of the same on climate and energy.

Features ELECTION 2020

Analysis: Biden’s climate plan offers a stark contrast to Trump’s record

The former vice president’s climate platform is broad and detailed, but will probably require Democrats’ seizing the Senate and keeping control of the House. Then he’ll need to maneuver the tricky dance of legislation.

Features ELECTION 2020

Election may yield a Texas House friendlier to clean energy, climate action

Democrats are optimistic about upping their strength in the Legislature’s GOP-dominated lower chamber. Winning control isn’t out of the question. Either outcome could mean the best chance for climate-linked bills in years.

Features ELECTION 2020

Hill Country showdown: Wendy Davis, Chip Roy in a congressional horse race

Republican Roy has decried “hysteria” about climate-change concerns and declined to accept the scientific consensus about human causation. Democrat Davis says climate change is an existential threat requiring strong action.

Features ELECTION 2020

Controversial methane releases ignite interest in Railroad Commission race

The regulatory agency’s traditional friendliness to the oil and gas industry’s venting and flaring of methane is a focus of this year’s election. Methane is both a potent climate disruptor and a health-threatening pollutant.

Features ELECTION 2020

Can the Green New Deal win Texas voters’ support? Mike Siegel thinks so.

Siegel, the Democratic candidate in a congressional district stretching from Austin to Houston, is an enthusiastic Green New Deal advocate. Michael McCaul, the eight-term Republican incumbent, is an enthusiastic critic.

Features ELECTION 2020

Cornyn and Hegar treat climate and energy issues as a balancing act

The two Senate candidates acknowledge climate change is a threat. GOP incumbent Cornyn calls for research, Democrat Hegar for more renewable energy. Both distance themselves from their parties’ presidential nominees.

TCN Journal ANALYSIS

Is Amy Coney Barrett a climate-science denier? That’s for her to know.

The Supreme Court hopeful evaded senators’ efforts to pin down her views about climate change. But echoing climate-action foes, she called the vast scientific consensus that climate change is real and a threat “contentious.”

TCN Journal ELECTION 2020

New polls show voters clearly prefer Biden to Trump on climate change

Climate change is a top issue for Democrats and independents, but not Republicans. Even so, surprisingly large numbers of Republicans favor climate-friendly ideas, including rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.

TCN Journal ELECTION 2020

Will climate get top-tier attention in the presidential race’s home stretch?

Climate change and related energy issues seemed to be in place to play a historically prominent role in the 2020 campaign. Then came the pandemic, economic turmoil and a renewed debate over racial justice.

TCN Journal

Reducing deforestation, wildlife trade, key to limiting future pandemics

A new study finds precautionary measures that decrease animal-human contact and pathogen spread are a sound return on investment. Pandemics, like climate change, need global solutions, a Rice University co-author says.

TCN Journal

New reports help detail the scope of increasing flood threats in Texas

First Street Foundation’s study indicates Houston is the U.S. city with the greatest number of properties at flood risk now. A new NOAA report points to the growing threat of high-tide flooding along the Texas Gulf Coast.

TCN Journal

Texas cities join mapping project in effort to fight urban heat islands

Pockets of higher temperatures in urban areas pose health threats, particularly to marginalized communities. By mapping these areas, experts hope to get a better sense of effective ameliorative strategies.

TCN Journal

Pandemic complicates plans for dealing with possible severe storm season

Above-average sea-surface temperatures could mean more powerful hurricanes this year, experts warn. Can Gulf Coast hospitals handle an influx of injured storm victims on top of a swelling Covid-19 patient load?

In Passing

Growing number in Houston area see perils of human-caused climate change

Rice University’s annual opinion survey found wide concern that climate change is a serious problem and acceptance of its human causation. A national poll found pandemic worries haven’t eroded climate concerns.

In Passing

Uncommonly high Texas temps were part of Earth’s record January warmth

Coming on the heels of Earth’s warmest year on record, 2020 started with the planet’s warmest January on record. In Texas, dozens of daily maximum readings exceeded or tied previous records.

In Passing

Texas Tech’s Katharine Hayhoe receives UN’s top environmental honor

The scientist was recognized for work quantifying the effects of climate change and efforts to transform public attitudes about it. She is well known for educational outreach to fellow evangelical Christians.

In Passing

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.

In Passing

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.

In Passing

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.

In Passing

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.

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