Climate Change

Some of the world's top climate scientists have concluded that global warming is likely to reach dangerous levels unless new technologies are developed to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says pledges from the world's governments to reduce greenhouse gases, made in Paris in 2015, aren't enough to keep global warming from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial temperatures.

Hurricane Florence is moving relentlessly toward the Southeastern U.S. It's a large, powerful cyclone that will likely bring storm surge and high winds to coastal communities.

But climate scientists say one of the biggest threats posed by Florence is rain.

rhaaga/Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

From Texas Standard

Oil companies have long been blamed for playing a role in climate change. But now, those companies are asking the government to protect their interests from the harsher storms and higher tides connected with global warming.

Companies on the Texas Gulf Coast, which is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, are pushing for a 60-mile stretch of sea walls and levees that would help protect homes, beaches and, yes, oil infrastructure, from the next big storm.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin has had 48 triple-digit days so far this year. That puts this summer on track to be the third hottest ever recorded in the city in terms of average temperature. It also continues a trend of warming in the region that became more pronounced around the turn of the century.

NOAA has released the latest State of the Climate report, its annual checkup on our planet.

So, how did Earth fare in 2017?

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: record highs. Global surface temperature: near-record high. Sea surface temperature: near-record high. Global sea level: highest on record.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Four large wildfires have broken out in Central Texas in just about a week. It’s part of a bad year for Texas fires, and climate researchers say the uptick in fires bears the fingerprints of climate change.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Human attempts to control the weather go back millennia.

There was fire, of course, for keeping warm when winter's cold takes hold, but taming the sweltering heat of the summer is a much newer pursuit. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The oil and gas industry is releasing 60 percent more methane than the Environmental Protection Agency currently estimates, according to a study published in latest edition of Science.

That’s bad news when it comes to global warming.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Most discussions about how to solve climate change involve limiting greenhouse gas emissions. But what if there was another way? A new study co-published by a team of researchers at Harvard and a Canadian company called Carbon Engineering says there is one.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Last month was the hottest May ever recorded in the Austin area. If that has you worried about what's in store, you have good reason to be: A vicious circle of self-perpetuating heat descends on Texas in the summer.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Student activists around the country are pushing for universities not to invest in industries that contribute to global warming. But at the University of Texas, some environmentalists are taking a different approach, urging UT not to divest, but to adopt more climate-friendly drilling rules.

From Texas Standard.

What can we learn from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria? To answer that question, and to facilitate planning for future storms, seven universities in Florida, Louisiana and Texas are pooling their money to put together what could be a first-of-its-kind center for hurricane research.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

As greenhouse gasses heat the atmosphere, we can expect more severe floods and droughts. That could be trouble for critical infrastructure like bridges and roads in many cities, including here in Central Texas.

Mose Buchele / KUT

Coal is one of the big reasons President  Trump has ended the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord. He says ending a pledge to reduce CO2 emissions could help reinvigorate the coal industry. So we decided to ask people in the one coal-producing area of Central Texas what they thought of the decision. 

Ashley Rodgers/Texas Tech University

From Texas Standard:

The headline in both the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle today read the same thing – “We’re Getting Out.” These words were taken directly from the speech President Donald Trump gave yesterday when he announced the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris climate change agreement.

Courtesy of Christine Hawkes

Christine Hawkes says her work isn’t all that glamorous.

“Sometimes when people ask me what my job is, I say 'digging holes,'” she says. "You know? It’s a lot of what I do is just digging up soil.”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

It’s still a long time before the congressional midterm elections in November 2018. But a lot of candidates are already showing interest in running. And many of them are embracing an environmental message that, traditionally, has been kept on the sidelines.

Qiling Wang for KUT

Judging from how hot it has been, this year could end up being Austin’s hottest ever. Heat impacts health, happiness and the environment. So the city is trying a simple approach to reducing it: planting trees.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Since Scott Pruitt has taken the reigns of the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency has rolled back regulations, scrubbed information on global warming from its website and dismissed members of a key science advisory board. But that isn’t enough for some climate change skeptics and fossil fuel advocates, who would like to see the EPA rescind its entire rationale for battling global warming.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The City of Austin has unveiled a new blueprint for its zoning overhaul, known as CodeNEXT – a plan aims to manage growth and transportation challenges by rewriting Austin's land-use code.

But critics say, for a city that prides itself on its environmentalism, Austin has failed to take into account one important thing in CodeNEXT: the future impact of climate change.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin is among a handful of U.S. cities that could see a rush of newcomers in the next century as rising sea levels force people out of coastal areas, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

This week has been a dizzying one for people working to understand and combat global warming.

Tweets on climate change from the account of the Badlands National Park were deleted. Plans to scrub climate information from Environmental Protection Agency websites were walked back by the Trump administration. Then, news broke that the budget for the EPA may be cut by $1 billion dollars.

Last year, global warming reached record high temperatures — and if that news feels like déjà vu, you're not going crazy.

The planet has now had three consecutive years of record-breaking heat.

Screenshot via YouTube

Texas produces more carbon dioxide than any other state in the country. That’s a problem because CO2 is a big cause of global climate change. But what if the greenhouse gas could be turned into a carbon-neutral fuel source? A group of researchers say they have done just that.


Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Texas and 25 other states will be at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today to lay out their case against the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency’s initiative to slow global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The court's decision could have longstanding implications on the future of the plan. 


The floods that hit Louisiana last month were caused by rainfall that was unlike anything seen there in centuries. Most of the southern part of the state was drenched with up to 2 or 3 inches in an hour. A total of 31 inches fell just northeast of Baton Rouge in about three days; 20 parishes were declared federal disaster areas.

Climate scientists and flood managers suspect there could more like that to come — in Louisiana and in other parts of the country.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

Information out from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms what many probably already knew: It was a really warm winter. NOAA’s National Climate Summary for December through February says the lower 48 states experienced the warmest winter ever recorded when it comes to average temperature. 


Mose Buchele for KUT News

In Texas, warm days in January and February have a lot of people wondering what happened to winter. The weather has made for a lot more nice days outdoors, but it’s having other impacts as well.

If you live in Austin you usually notice bats flitting around Lady Bird Lake in the summertime. But they’re out now. On warm nights you can see and hear them. If you stand close enough to their home under the Ann Richards Bridge, you also can smell them.


Callie Richmond for the Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Tuesday to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan has helped state Republicans — at least temporarily — dodge major action on climate change.

Courtesy of Louis Vest, flickr.com/photos/oneeighteen

Officials from countries around the word have met for the last two weeks in Lima, Peru to talk global climate change.   At the heart of those talks is how to limit billions of tons of CO2 that are pumped into the atmosphere every year from coal burning power plants.  

But how do we keep track of the CO2 we’re releasing? And just how do we weigh something that floats in the first place? 

It turns out there is a venerable history to the science of weighing smoke.

Pages