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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:

U.S. Vulnerable to Worst of Extreme Sea Rise

U.S. Vulnerable to Worst of Extreme Sea Rise

The beginning of a collapse this century of sections of the Antarctic ice sheet would disproportionately inundate coasts circling the U.S. — the country that has done more than any other to pollute the climate. While such a cataclysmic outcome of warming temperatures from greenhouse gas pollution is considered unlikely, recent studies have shown … Read More

China, India Become Climate Leaders as West Falters

China, India Become Climate Leaders as West Falters

In the Western hemisphere, where centuries of polluting fossil fuel use have created comfortable lifestyles, the fight against warming has faltered largely due to the rise of far-right political groups and nationalist movements. As numerous rich countries have foundered, India and China have emerged as global leaders in tackling global warming… Read More

Court Rules California Climate Payments Aren’t Taxes

Court Rules California Climate Payments Aren’t Taxes

State judges told the California Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that its members don’t have a right to pollute, rejecting claims by its attorneys that payments required to release greenhouse gases under a marquee climate program are a kind of tax. The state appeals court ruling could have profound implications for the future of the state’s … Read More

Trump Order Targets Local Efforts to Adapt to Warming

Trump Order Targets Local Efforts to Adapt to Warming

As President Trump moved this week to halt federal efforts to slow climate change, his executive order on energy and climate also directed agencies to retreat from efforts to help cities and counties adapt to the effects of warming temperatures. Tuesday’s executive order rescinded directives issued by President Obama in 2013 and 2015, which sought… Read More

Justice Dept. Moves Swiftly to Back Trump Climate Order

Justice Dept. Moves Swiftly to Back Trump Climate Order

The federal government is moving swiftly to implement President Trump’s executive order on climate change, taking steps that include lifting a moratorium on new coal mines and asking courts to suspend long-running legal disputes over power plant climate rules. Environmental groups and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana responded with similar … Read More

Long Legal Battles Ahead Over Trump’s Climate Order

Long Legal Battles Ahead Over Trump’s Climate Order

Environmental groups and progressive states are vowing to battle President Trump in court over his push to repeal federal climate protections, and experts are warning that the battles ahead will be slow and protracted. An executive order on energy regulations signed by Trump on Tuesday takes direct aim at President Obama’s landmark climate rule… Read More

Communities Retreat as Oceans Swell, Coasts Erode

Communities Retreat as Oceans Swell, Coasts Erode

Erosion, rising seas, ferocious storms and other coastal perils have prompted the resettlement of more than 1 million people worldwide, with an exhaustive new analysis highlighting an emerging migration crisis that’s worsening as global warming overwhelms shorelines. Researchers scoured journal papers, government reports and news articles for … Read More

Polluters Could ‘More Easily’ Commit Crimes Under Cuts

Polluters Could ‘More Easily’ Commit Crimes Under Cuts

Investigators that enforce federal environmental laws would see their funding cut by nearly a third under a Trump administration proposal, boosting the likelihood that people, wildlife and the climate will be harmed by corporate pollution.… Read More

Budget Proposal Would Hamper Climate Efforts Abroad

Budget Proposal Would Hamper Climate Efforts Abroad

The Trump administration’s budget proposal would hamper efforts abroad to slow global warming, especially by poor and fast-developing countries, compounding the hazards of America’s retreat from efforts to ease its own climate impacts. A 54-page proposal released Thursday would end payments to global climate initiatives, such as a United Nations f… Read More

Trump and Automakers Target EPA Mileage Rules

Trump and Automakers Target EPA Mileage Rules

Attorneys for automakers have joined forces with the Trump Administration as they begin the cumbersome task of working to scuttle what would have been some of America’s most far-reaching rules designed to slow global warming — ambitious car mileage standards. Trump announced in Michigan on Wednesday that the EPA would review federal mileage standa… Read More

NOAA Sea Grant Cut Could Slow Climate Adaptation

NOAA Sea Grant Cut Could Slow Climate Adaptation

As President Trump moves to rein in federal efforts to slow warming, his administration is also mulling cost-saving measures that would leave coastal Americans more vulnerable to rising seas, heavier deluges, acidifying waters and other effects of climate change. A four-page budget memo obtained by the Washington Post showed the Trump … Read More

European Climate Action Faces Crucial Moment

European Climate Action Faces Crucial Moment

One of the original weapons in the fight against warming is facing obsolescence in Europe, which is wrangling with many of the same forces that have bogged down potential climate progress in the U.S. The post-2020 future of the European Union’s cap-and-trade system, which was designed to tax and limit pollution, is about to be negotiated following… Read More

Humans Blamed for Starting Most Wildfires in the U.S.

Humans Blamed for Starting Most Wildfires in the U.S.

About five out of every six wildfires battled in the continental U.S. during the past two decades were started by humans, new research shows, either by accident or by an arsonist. The rest were ignited naturally by lightning strikes. “The human-ignition element is critical to understand,” said Park Williams, a climate and ecology researcher at Col… Read More

California Farmers Use Floodwater to Replenish Aquifers

California Farmers Use Floodwater to Replenish Aquifers

As dam managers were draining water from a Northern Californian reservoir this week to avert what could have been one of the worst flood disasters in the state’s history, Southern California farmer Don Cameron was doing something different with the watery winter excess. Using a network of levees and irrigation gates, Cameron inundated the orchards… Read More

Congress Protects Coasts From Climate Change With Mud

Congress Protects Coasts From Climate Change With Mud

As California reels from record-breaking erosion following punishing waves last winter, the federal government is turning to mud and sand from dredging projects to slow land losses and ease flooding nationwide as seas rise and storms intensify. Pacific Ocean storms strengthened by a powerful El Niño and global warming caused yawning erosion from … Read More

Coastal Cities Could Flood Three Times a Week by 2045

Coastal Cities Could Flood Three Times a Week by 2045

The lawns of homes purchased this year in vast swaths of coastal America could regularly be underwater before the mortgage has even been paid off, with new research showing high tide flooding could become nearly incessant in places within 30 years. Such floods could occur several times a week on average by 2045 along the mid-Atlantic coastline… Read More

Conservatives Push Carbon Tax to Address Climate Crisis

Conservatives Push Carbon Tax to Address Climate Crisis

With President Trump and Republicans in Congress moving swiftly to repeal regulations that slow global warming, a group of prominent conservatives on Wednesday touted a different potential solution — a carbon tax that pays cash dividends to Americans. In a paper titled “The Conservative Case For Carbon Dividends,” op-eds in the New York Times and … Read More

Record Judge Vacancies Could See Trump Recast Courts

Record Judge Vacancies Could See Trump Recast Courts

With President Trump preparing to nominate a ninth justice for the Supreme Court this week, tumult over the crucial vacancy is overshadowing his unprecedented potential to fill the benches of lower federal courts. A broad refusal by Senate Republicans to approve judicial nominees during the last two years of Obama’s second term means Trump could… Read More

Trump White House Distorts Wages Figure on First Day

Trump White House Distorts Wages Figure on First Day

Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Friday, the White House said that eliminating power plant climate rules, a clean water rule and other environmental regulations would “greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.” The statement, included on the White House’s website to… Read More

Trump’s EPA May ‘Review’ California’s Car Pollution Rules

Trump’s EPA May ‘Review’ California’s Car Pollution Rules

It became clear Wednesday that far-reaching car pollution rules enforced by California and a handful of other states could be jeopardized if EPA nominee Scott Pruitt is confirmed by the Senate. After repeatedly suing the EPA as Oklahoma's attorney general over what he has characterized as federal overreach, President-elect Trump’s pick to lead the… Read More

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