• Power gridTexas House Targets Power Grid Flaw that Cut Electricity to Natural Gas Facilities and Worsened February Blackouts

    By Sami Sparber

    The lower chamber gave initial approval Monday to a series of bill responding to this year’s catastrophic power outages during a deadly winter storm.

  • FloodsCombining News Media and AI to Rapidly Identify Flooded Buildings

    Artificial intelligence (AI) has sped up the process of detecting flooded buildings immediately after a large-scale flood, allowing emergency personnel to direct their efforts efficiently. Now, researchers have created a machine learning (ML) model that uses news media photos to identify flooded buildings accurately within 24 hours of the disaster.

  • Negative emission technologiesNegative Emissions, Positive Economy

    By Mark Dwortzan

    The long-term goals of the Paris Agreement — keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally 1.5 C in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change — may not be achievable by greenhouse gas emissions-reduction measures alone. Most scenarios for meeting these targets also require the deployment of negative emissions technologies (NETs) that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage could help stabilize the climate without breaking the bank.

  • Planetary securityHow Do We Know Whether an Asteroid Headed Our Way Is Dangerous?

    By Jonathan O’Callaghan

    There are a lot of things that pose a threat to our planet – climate change, natural disasters, and solar flares, for example. But one threat in particular often captures public imagination, finding itself popularized in books and films and regularly generating alarming headlines: asteroids.

  • ARGUMENT: Water crisisThe U.S. Water and Wastewater Crisis – How Many Wake-up Calls Are Enough?

    In February, much of Texas plunged into darkness when the state’s electricity grid failed due to extreme cold weather conditions. What started as a foreseeable blackout quickly became a life-threatening calamity. “This catastrophe illustrates what happens when aging and inadequate infrastructure is hit by extreme rain or snow—an increasingly regular occurrence due to climate change,” Lucía Falcón Palomar, Obinna Maduka, and JoAnn Kamuf Ward write. “And, the matter extends well beyond Texas. It is easy to forget that, within U.S. borders, communities have long endured the conditions seen in Texas in February.”

  • Toxic leaksFlorida Governor Working to Prevent “Catastrophic Flood” of Toxic Wastewater in Tampa Area

    Florida governor Ron DeSantis has vowed to prevent a “catastrophic flood” near the major city of Tampa. A leaking toxic wastewater reservoir has the potential to cause an environmental crisis in the region.

  • Grid securityIntegration Can Prevent Failures in Large Power Grids

    The recent power outages in Texas brought attention to its power grid being separated from the rest of the country. While it is not immediately clear whether integration with other parts of the national grid would have completely eliminated the need for rolling outages, the state’s inability to import significant amounts of electricity was decisive in the blackout.

  • TsunamisThe Promise of Forecasting Meteotsunamis

    Scientists have, for the first time, documented meteotsunami in the Great Lakes caused by an atmospheric inertia-gravity wave. An atmospheric inertia-gravity wave is a wave of air that can run from 6 to 60 miles long that is created when a mass of stable air is displaced by an air mass with significantly different pressure. This sets in motion a wave of air with rising and falling pressure that can influence the water below, as it synchronizes with water movement on the lake’s surface like two singers harmonizing.

  • Food securityClimate Change Has Cost 7 years of Ag Productivity Growth

    By Blaine Friedlander

    Despite important agricultural advancements to feed the world in the last 60 years, a Cornell-led study shows that global farming productivity is 21 percent lower than it could have been without climate change. This is the equivalent of losing about seven years of farm productivity increases since the 1960s.

  • Climate challengesClimate Change Significantly Increases Population Displacement Risk

    The risk of people being forced from their homes by flooding increases by half for each additional degree of global warming, as an international research team led by the Weather and Climate Risks Group at ETH Zurich demonstrate.

  • Texas power outagesAlmost 70% of ERCOT customers lost power during winter storm, study finds

    By Neelam Bohra

    Texans in ERCOT’s service area who lost electricity were without power for an average of 42 hours, according to the study. They had been told to prepare for short-term, rolling outages.

  • Climate challengesThe Cost of a Key Climate Solution

    Perhaps the best hope for slowing climate change – capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions underground – has remained elusive due in part to uncertainty about its economic feasibility. Researchers have estimated the energy demands involved with a critical stage of the process.

  • GeoengineeringResponding to Climate Change: U.S. Should Cautiously Pursue Solar Geoengineering

    Given the urgency of the risks posed by climate change, the U.S. should pursue a research program for solar geoengineering — in coordination with other nations, subject to governance, and alongside a robust portfolio of climate mitigation and adaptation policies, says a new report. The report emphasizes that solar geoengineering is not a substitute for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  • TsunamisTsunamis It Comes in Waves

    Tsunamis pose a real threat to the California coast, even if the triggering earthquakes occur elsewhere. And it doesn’t take a 50-foot tsunami out of a science-fiction film to inflict severe damage. Researchers are helping ensure coastal cities are ready.

  • Texas power outagesPaperwork Failures Worsened Texas Blackouts, Sparking Mid-Storm Scramble to Restore Critical Fuel Supply

    By Erin Douglas

    Dozens of natural gas companies failed to do the paperwork that would keep their facilities powered during an emergency, so utilities cut their electricity at the very moment that power plants most needed fuel. The mid-storm scramble to fix the problem exposed a regulatory blind spot.