Important Announcements

Meetings are currently held on the 4th Tuesday, 6pm, at the South Waco Library, 2737 S. 18th St., Waco, TX 76706. Meetings occur most months, but each should be confirmed by an announcement on this website This website can now be reached entering the following URL: Free "climate crisis is here" yard signs may be obtained by emailing To join our email list and be informed of meetings, events, and campaigns, please email Alan at Scroll down to "Sixth Annual Climate Crisis Art Show Winners."

Column in Waco Tribune-Herald, Jan. 11, 2024: Eight Important Issues of 2023




 With the corporate media finally focused on the climate crisis, and dozens of news stories written daily, myriad climate articles were published in 2023.  My discussion of the eight most important topics of the year follows.   

Hottest Year.  2023 surpassed 2016 to become the year with the highest global mean land surface temperature—the hottest of the last 125,000 years.  And disturbingly, for the first time, the world passed the 2.0C (above preindustrial) redline for global mean temperature increase, as defined in the Paris Agreement.  The Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that the mean temperature increase was 2.07C on Nov. 17, and 2.06C on Nov. 18.  The bizarre extremes of 2023 were highlighted by a temperature of 110F in Argentina—in early spring.  As Zeke Hausfather colorfully described September: “This month was — in my professional opinion as a climate scientist — absolutely gobsmackingly bananas.”

Record U.S. Billion-Dollar Disasters. Although increasing atmospheric CO2 and surface temperature are the fundamental mechanisms of the climate crisis, total planetary damage results from the increased severity of all extreme weather events.  And the year 2023 set a new U.S. record, with 25 total extreme events costing $1 billion dollars or more.  The disaster damage was $79.8 billion total, with 482 deaths.  The 2023 events were:  Southern/Midwestern drought and heatwave (including Waco), category 3 Hurricane Idalia involving the East Coast, firestorm on Maui Island, Northeastern flooding, Northeastern winter storm, California flooding, and 19 severe storms (including tornado outbreaks and hail) involving the Central, Eastern and Southern U.S.  The pervasive nature of these disasters was emphasized by the fact that ¾ of Americans experienced extreme weather in 2023.

 Scorched Waco.  Locally, the dramatic heatwave of 2022 was outmatched in 2023, the 3rd hottest year on record—with 66 days at 100F or higher, and 2 days at 110F.  And although the term “climate change” is still feared and avoided in much of Waco, the scientific standard of climate causality,, reported that the deadly heatwave of North America “would have been extremely rare or even impossible without human-caused warming.”  And the 2022 drought in McLennan County also deepened. While late August of 2022 exhibited 90% level 3 and 10% level 4 drought, August 2023 worsened to 60% level 3 and 40% level 4 drought.  Further, Professor William Baule of Texas A&M University confirmed that the 2023 drought defeated the historic 2011 drought as the worst in Waco history. The drought and heat wave impacted corn, hay, wheat, cattle, and sheep in the county.  Currently, after about 13 inches of rainfall in September through December, Lake Waco is 99% full, and water use restrictions have been lifted.  However, the Dec. 28 drought monitor map warns that the entire county remains abnormally dry (D0), and the Southwest corner exhibits moderate drought (D1), still damaging 5,800 acres of corn.  

 Youth Legal Victory in Montana.  In Held v. State of Montana, 16 young people filed a lawsuit, based on the Montana constitution that protects “the right to a clean and healthful environment,” challenging Montana law that prevented state agencies from considering the effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in environmental reviews. The success of the suit provides hope for legal strategies in combating the climate crisis.  In fact, the 2023 UN Climate Litigation Report found that over 2,000 climate lawsuits are pending worldwide, filed predominantly against governments and fossil fuel companies. 

Standardized EV Charging.  EV sales have skyrocketed from 4% of global new car purchases in 2020 to 14% in 2022.  However, the presence of several charging plug types has made charger availability less abundant. In 2023, the Tesla plug was renamed the North American Charging Standard (NACS), and essentially all car makes, except Stellantis and Mazda, announced they will phase in the ability to charge with the Tesla plug.  This will ultimately provide all drivers with access to the superior Tesla charging network, which is enormous, functions almost flawlessly, and is impeccably maintained.  And although “range anxiety” is greatly exaggerated, the adoption of the NACS should greatly reduce this hindrance to EV adoption.   

 COP28 Breakthrough.  After 28 years of international negotiation, the climate diplomats finally included the term “fossil fuel,” the burning of which is the cause of the climate crisis.  The final COP28 declaration calls for “transition away from fossil fuels,” rather than the scientifically mandated “phase out of fossil fuels.” Climate activists, scientists, and severely impacted nations were dissatisfied as the document provides loopholes for the fossil fuel industry, allowing indefinite burning of fossil fuels, while relying on carbon capture technology which is unproven at the necessary scale.  The final document does call for development of triple the current renewable energy capacity by 2030, and double the rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030.  The “loss and damage” fund, established at COP27, provides grants for developing nations as compensation for their climate disasters, will be administered by the World Bank, and was seeded with $770 million at COP28.    

City Council Action.  Waco in 2023 has felt the scourge of the climate crisis, with heatwaves, drought, water shortage, and crop damage.  In addition, the FEMA National Risk Index ranks McLennan County at moderate to high risk (relative to all U.S. counties) of cold waves, lightning, riverine flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires.  These local effects, plus awareness of the suffering of our fellow humans across the globe, provide ample impetus for climate action.  The City of Waco has taken small steps:  purchasing renewable electricity; installing solar panels on the 25th Street fire station; adding around 15 EVs to the fleet; and applying for grants for a solar farm at landfill site, for local EV charging stations, and for solar panel installations for disadvantaged Wacoans.  But clearly the Council does not consider climate change an emergency nor accept the scientific mandate to take consistent, robust action.  When the Council is presented with repeated opportunities to act on our existential threat, such as adding an LED requirement to a building code, the Council does not act—and in fact completely ignores the opportunities.

Individual Action in 2024.  The worst climate news of 2023 is that the world is on course for 2.7C of warming in 2100—which would ravage our planet. To avert this calamity, we need climate action at every level, including the individual. In review, powerful individual actions are:  purchase an EV (federal/state incentives  available at;  purchase renewable electricity for home; install  home solar panels (federal tax credits available);  convert all home appliances to electric (federal tax credits available); decrease or eliminate meat/dairy consumption; buy quality fashion rather than fast fashion; divest from fossil fuels; fly less; demand climate action of all government officials; and VOTE for candidates committed to combating the climate crisis.


Alan D. Northcutt, M.D.

Waco, TX

Jan 1, 2024


Alan D. Northcutt is a retired Waco physician and Director of the grassroots climate action and education group, Waco Friends of the Climate.  For free “Climate Crisis is Here” yard signs, email