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Texas could have foreseen 2021 cold-wave disaster, new study concludes

A warming climate hasn’t erased the risk of cold extremes, and the Texas power grid wasn’t prepared for the frigid blast that blanketed the state in February 2021. Will it be ready for the next one?

As heat waves increase, green roofs could help cool Texas cities

Vegetation-covered roofs may be challenging to create and maintain, but they can be up to 40 degrees cooler than conventional roofs. They can also reduce flash flooding and provide islands of habitat for pollinators.

TCN Digest: “Now or never” – IPCC on keeping warming below dangerous levels

The U.N.-sponsored body assessed various strategies for limiting pollution-fueled climate change to avoid the worst impacts. “Carbon dioxide removal” supplements emission reductions in some of them.

Q&A: Daniel Cohan of Rice University on charting a path out of climate gridlock

In his new book, the atmospheric scientist and environmental engineering professor dives into diplomacy, technology and policy, arguing that action in all three areas is needed for progress against climate change.

Millions of Texans lack home weatherization that can save energy, lives

“There’s a huge number of homes out there that cannot hold a [set temperature] for even a minute – if the AC shuts off, that house is getting hot,” a Texas energy efficiency expert said.

Damned if they do or don’t? New eco-warrior billionaires spark debate

Some hyper-wealthy people are pledging donations to fight climate change and protect ecosystems. Is it a positive, even “game-changing” development? Or should governments constrain carbon-spewing luxuries?

The threat ramps up for a hot, dry La Niña spring in Texas

After a record-mild autumn and a freakishly warm December, much of Texas could sink into its worst drought in a decade. That prospect is ominous – a reminder of the state’s catastrophic heat wave and drought in 2011.

As climate-linked crisis of plastic pollution grows, we keep cranking out plastic

From 1950-2017, the world produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics. Global production has skyrocketed – it totaled 381 million metric tons (MMT) in 2015 alone. Now, humans create 242 MMT of plastic waste each year.

A fork in the road for Texas officials on climate-altering methane pollution

Facing new federal regulations and global momentum for a crackdown on oil and gas emissions, will Texas finally admit methane’s threat? Or will state officials keep resisting climate action?

TCN Digest: Water worries in Texas, worldwide as weather extremes multiply

The U.N.’s weather agency predicted a “looming” global water crisis created by changing climate and growing population. A Texas water expert asks: Will the state adequately adapt its “fragile” water and power infrastructure?

A big jump in climate-action support follows 2021’s run of extreme weather

A new national poll found increases in Americans’ agreement that global warming is happening, their worries about it and support for climate action. Will the surge translate into passage of bills stalled in Congress?

Climate, local authority, divestment: The enduring clout of oil and gas

Fossil fuels don’t dominate the Texas economy as they did in the past. But they still provide “a huge amount of the money that goes into the coffers” of public office-seekers, said a TCU political scientist.

No doubt climate change made Ida more destructive, scientists say

Warmer ocean waters can rapidly strengthen storms. Ocean warming has been unceasing for 50 years, the IPCC recently reported. And this trend “will likely continue until at least 2300 even for low-emission scenarios.”

TCN Digest: Even with a ‘code red’ climate report, scientists still have hope

“Unprecedented” climate changes lie ahead, some “irreversible.” Parts of the IPCC’s latest update may prompt a defeatist response, but the report also says there’s still time to avoid the worst, researchers stress.

‘Code red for humanity’: The IPCC report’s meaning for the world and Texas

Human-caused warming of the earth is “unequivocal,” the new scientific assessment’s authors declared. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels,” the UN secretary-general said.

Winter, summer weather extremes are taking a toll on Texas plants, wildlife

Researchers are documenting impacts of extreme cold and heat on animals and the plants they rely on for food and habitat. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of animals were recorded in February’s winter storm, for example.

Electric vehicle infrastructure bill fizzles as EVs shift into high gear

Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature co-sponsored a measure to ensure Texas plays a leading role in the transition to electric vehicles. The House bill easily won committee approval but never came to a floor vote.

Will Texas implement reinstated U.S. rules to cut methane emissions?

The curbs on leaks of climate-changing methane from oil and gas operations restore Obama-era rules that Trump junked. Texas has a record of suing to stop climate-protecting measures and refusing to implement them.

Two national polls find falling Republican support for renewable energy

Historically, Republicans have voiced more support for renewables than concern about climate change. But their enthusiasm for clean energy appears to be eroding in another possible sign of partisan polarization.

Threat of more blackouts may erode reliability claims for fossil energy

Amid soaring temps, Texas’ grid operator said unexpected shutdowns at power plants had stressed the system. Nearly 80% were “thermal” generators (mostly natural gas-fueled in Texas) and not renewable sources.

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