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John Upton

John Upton

Editorial

John Upton is a Senior Science Writer at Climate Central. He is focused on shores and rising seas, and he also covers global climate policy, oceans research and wood energy. Upton has science and business degrees and a decade of international reporting experience. He has written for the New York Times, Slate, Nautilus, VICE, Grist, Pacific Standard, Modern Farmer, and Audubon magazine.

Most Recent News Entries:

Exxon’s Tillerson Murky on Future of Paris Climate Pact

Exxon’s Tillerson Murky on Future of Paris Climate Pact

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson downplayed global warming’s dangers during a hearing into his nomination for secretary of state on Wednesday, refusing to rule out an American withdrawal from a climate treaty even as he acknowledged that “the risk of climate change does exist.” Tillerson recently resigned after a four-decade career with America… Read More

Trump’s ‘Extreme’ Cabinet Could Fuel Warming Crisis

Trump’s ‘Extreme’ Cabinet Could Fuel Warming Crisis

Senate hearings into President-elect Trump’s proposed cabinet members began Tuesday, with anti-science politicians and fossil fuel executives being considered for key posts, threatening to undermine the worldwide fight against global warming at a crucial moment. Given Trump’s campaign promises to rejuvenate the coal sector and boost drilling for … Read More

Trump, Congress Could Halt State Action on Climate

Trump, Congress Could Halt State Action on Climate

The head of the city department that drafts many of San Francisco’s greenest rules and regulations uses one word to explain her greatest fear for the environment during Trump’s presidency: “preemption.” If some of the deepest concerns of climate-focused bureaucrats from San Francisco to Massachusetts and New York come true, the Trump… Read More

Exxon’s $180 Million Deal With Trump’s Pick for State

Exxon’s $180 Million Deal With Trump’s Pick for State

ExxonMobil has agreed to provide an investment package worth about $180 million to its outgoing chief executive, Rex Tillerson, letting him cash in on benefits that he would have been required to give up in order to serve as President-elect Trump’s top diplomat. If the Senate approves Tillerson’s nomination as secretary of state, ExxonMobil will … Read More

Where to Follow the Climate Action in 2017

Where to Follow the Climate Action in 2017

The past year epitomized the toing-and-froing of planetary fortunes that have come to define global climate policy and debates. Here are some of the key issues and places to watch this year as battles are waged against dirty energy, as climate policies are debated and implemented, and as governments abroad move to take over the leadership role that… Read More

New EU Wood Energy Rules Threaten Climate, Forests

New EU Wood Energy Rules Threaten Climate, Forests

As American foresters ramp up logging to meet the growing demand for wood pellets by power plants on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, a new European wood energy proposal would allow the power plants to continue claiming their operations are green for at least 13 more years, despite releasing more heat-trapping pollution than coal. Most of the… Read More

The Climate Impacts of Trump’s ExxonMobil Pick for State

The Climate Impacts of Trump’s ExxonMobil Pick for State

President-elect Trump on Tuesday rounded out a potential dream team of anti-environment cabinet members with the chief executive officer of ExxonMobil, among the world’s 10 largest companies and one that has profited from global warming and worked to slow the fight against climate change. If the nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state… Read More

Democrats’ Domination May Save Calif. Climate Program

Democrats’ Domination May Save Calif. Climate Program

As Democrats in Congress confront the specter of watching as the country’s climate policies are dismantled by President-elect Trump, key gains by the party in California could help Sacramento take over as the nation’s leader in the fight against global warming. With a Democrat last week securing the final seat in the state senate, the party held… Read More

Supermoon Floods Warn of Crisis Facing Trump, U.S.

Supermoon Floods Warn of Crisis Facing Trump, U.S.

Donald Trump is preparing to lead America during a perilous period for the 130 million residents of its coastal counties. High tides linked to the full moon since the weekend caused minor flooding from Florida to New England, underscoring the need for improved coastal infrastructure at a time of faster rising seas. “We do see some pretty high tides… Read More

The Agonizing Wait For Trump to Speak on Climate Policy

The Agonizing Wait For Trump to Speak on Climate Policy

Scientists, analysts, activists and world leaders on Monday were anxiously waiting to learn how President-elect Donald Trump plans to reshape climate policy following a campaign in which he dismissed the global warming crisis — with America’s own climate negotiators being left in the dark. Trump publicly warned of the dangers of climate change bef… Read More

Climate Lawsuit Awaits President Trump

Climate Lawsuit Awaits President Trump

A sweeping climate change lawsuit filed against the Obama Administration will move forward, a judged ruled on Thursday, setting up an extraordinary legal battle between environmentalists and President-elect Donald Trump. The lawsuit claims the rights of 21 young Oregonians have been unconstitutionally violated because the federal government has… Read More

Trump Win Throws Global Climate Action Into Disarray

Trump Win Throws Global Climate Action Into Disarray

The surprise election of Republican Donald Trump has imperiled efforts at the United Nations to slow global warming, throwing two new climate treaties into turmoil at a critical moment. Diplomats are gathering in Morocco to negotiate the rules of a new climate agreement near the end of what will be the hottest year on record. They were stunned by … Read More

‘Critical Moment’ as UN Climate Talks Resume

‘Critical Moment’ as UN Climate Talks Resume

Leaders of nations overwhelmed by fallouts from wars and ravaged by political divisions are gathering in western Morocco, where they will attempt during the next two weeks to unite around a cooperative new approach to easing the worsening ravages of global warming. Ahead of the first major United Nations climate negotiations since an aspirational … Read More

Shipping Industry Postpones Climate Plan Until 2023

Shipping Industry Postpones Climate Plan Until 2023

A firm plan for potentially easing the shipping industry’s impact on the climate will be delayed for seven years under a roadmap drafted by a United Nations agency on Friday. The lackluster outcome at the end of a week of environmental talks in London deepened the disparity between ship and plane operators and much of the rest of the world when it… Read More

Shipping Industry Mulls Modest Steps to Slow Warming

Shipping Industry Mulls Modest Steps to Slow Warming

The global shipping industry is poised to take steps this week to begin addressing its heavy role in warming the planet, signaling an important shift following years of recalcitrance on climate change. The environmental committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations agency, is meeting in London this week to consider n… Read More

U.S. Senate Could Block Landmark HFC Climate Treaty

U.S. Senate Could Block Landmark HFC Climate Treaty

The jubilation and relief that flowed from United Nations climate talks in Rwanda over the weekend may be short-lived in the U.S., where legal experts say the agreement risks being blocked by Republican senators. The agreement was struck weeks before a more all-encompassing global climate deal, the Paris agreement takes legal force, following its… Read More

Climate Change Behind Surge in Western Wildfires

Climate Change Behind Surge in Western Wildfires

The number of acres of forest burning yearly in large Western fires ballooned nine-fold from 1984 to 2015, with climate pollution and natural changes in the weather playing roughly equal roles in driving the deadly trend, research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded. The study showed that more than a… Read More

Landmark Paris Climate Pact to Take Effect in 30 Days

Landmark Paris Climate Pact to Take Effect in 30 Days

Moving with a diplomatic haste rivaling the rapid recent rise in global temperatures, the European Union on Wednesday joined dozens of countries in signing onto a United Nations climate treaty, pushing it to within a month of taking legal force. Following the filing of paperwork in recent weeks by 73 countries, collectively responsible for 57 … Read More

Ethanol in U.S. Gas Tanks is Backfiring for Climate Change

Ethanol in U.S. Gas Tanks is Backfiring for Climate Change

A team of researchers has concluded that for every three gallons of corn ethanol that’s being burned under America’s flagship renewable fuel rules, Americans will avoid burning just one gallon of gasoline made from crude. Their findings add to evidence that the mandated use of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard, which was approved by… Read More

America’s Climate Plan Falls Short of its Promises

America’s Climate Plan Falls Short of its Promises

The federal government will need to ramp up its fight against climate pollution if it wants to keep a key promise under a United Nations pact, new research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows. The U.S. pledged during United Nations meetings in France last year to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by a little more than a quarter … Read More

UN Climate Pact Moves Closer to Taking Effect

UN Climate Pact Moves Closer to Taking Effect

A slew of documents filed by national representatives on Wednesday thrust the new UN climate treaty closer to taking effect — a “hairbreadth” away, as Maldives foreign minister Mohamed Asim put it in a statement. But it’s not quite there yet. During meetings in France in December, nearly 200 countries agreed to take steps to fight global warming u… Read More

3 Ways Trump Could Abandon the Paris Climate Pact

3 Ways Trump Could Abandon the Paris Climate Pact

The possibility that a climate science denier could soon become America’s president is serving as an urgent motivator for diplomats gathering in New York this week for United Nations meetings. Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has called climate change a “hoax” and said that as president he would “cancel” the UN’s new climate pact… Read More

‘Ghost Forests’ Appear As Rising Seas Kill Trees

‘Ghost Forests’ Appear As Rising Seas Kill Trees

Bare trunks of dead coastal forests are being discovered up and down the mid-Atlantic coastline, killed by the advance of rising seas. The “ghost forests,” as scientists call them, offer eerie evidence of some of the world’s fastest rates of sea level rise. Forests provide habitat and protect against global warming, but they’re declining worldwide … Read More

Louisiana Floods Directly Linked to Climate Change

Louisiana Floods Directly Linked to Climate Change

Climate change played a heavy role in the nightmarish storm that brought a three-day deluge to coastal Louisiana last month, triggering floods that killed 13 and left thousands more homeless, research released Wednesday showed. The unprecedented 1 to 2 feet of rain that fell over parts of Baton Rouge and nearby communities over several days in … Read More

Here’s What China, U.S. Just Committed to on Climate

Here’s What China, U.S. Just Committed to on Climate

The leaders of the U.S. and China committed their nations to the fight against global warming on Saturday when they handed arcane but momentous documents to the United Nation’s top official. The documents stated that the U.S. and China are ready to join a new global warming pact, putting it on course to potentially become international law before … Read More

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US Temperature Projections If current trends in burning coal and other fossil fuels continue, average temperatures in the U.S. are projected to increase

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