Winter Storm Uri and the Texas Energy Crisis: Implications for Climate and Energy Justice in San Antonio, TX




Terracciano, Emmalyn

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Winter Storm Uri hit Texas in February 2021, leaving millions of people without power. This winter storm and energy crisis provide an example of failed climate planning but present an opportunity to understand response and resiliency during climate change-related events in Texas. In San Antonio, where climate justice research is falling behind, it is important to understand resiliency during extreme climatic events. Impacts experienced by the public can be compared to communications of elected officials and utility providers to help us understand how response was prioritized and if there were disparities among communities. From studying perceived impacts and stakeholders' responses during this extreme weather event, we can derive planning implications for assessing infrastructure needs of vulnerable communities that are often more exposed to climate change risks. To accomplish this research objective, I performed text content analyses using Twitter data collected from San Antonio's elected officials, utility providers, and the public during a four-week timeframe covering the pre- and post-disaster period. I used natural language processing techniques including topic modeling, sentiment analysis, and semantic analysis to understand what each group was prioritizing before, during, and after the disaster declaration. I then conducted a keyword analysis on city council meeting minutes to determine how crisis communications on Twitter were translated into action. The results demonstrate two main outcomes: 1) Priorities and perceptions of the disaster varied among user categories and districts; and 2) Communications were not translated into sufficient action to prepare for additional climate change-related events and address justice concerns.


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climate change, climate justice, data mining, energy justice, natural language processing, urban planning



Urban and Regional Planning