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 US 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.

Climate change and the Texas Mid-Coast: The closest examination yet

A new assessment pinpoints threats to a haven for water lovers and wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation report also identifies proactive measures that state and local leadership can pursue to prepare.

Introducing TCN Digest – themed, explanatory news summaries

In this first installment of Digest: Heat, rain, drought, megadrought and blackouts. In each edition of this new feature we’ll present selective overviews of recent developments with a common theme or close connections.

Research shows importance of protecting ocean sediment from trawling

Texas shrimpers and many others around the world use the fishing method. One study’s lowest projection showed trawling can release as much carbon into the water as Canada, the 11th biggest climate polluter, emits to the air.

Can a solar farm on an old landfill site improve life for a Houston community?

The project in the largely Black Sunnyside neighborhood features intersecting efforts to advance clean energy sources and address residual impacts of long-ago policies linked to environmental racism.

UN biodiversity conference to address growing species, ecosystem losses

An overview of the increasing urgency of Earth’s biodiversity crisis. Scientists say habitat losses are accelerating, vertebrate animals’ extinction rate is greater than thought, and two in five plant species are at risk of disappearing.

Paying landowners to store CO2 in soil a promising climate mitigation tool

Natural climate solutions – including land management practices that increase or protect carbon storage – could provide more than a third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030, research shows.

Biden sends another strong signal with Texas justice advocates’ appointments

In line with the president’s pledge to address environmental injustice, the administration named three Texans to a new White House advisory council. Another Texan’s ejection from a key advisory post was also a sign of change.

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