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John Upton

John Upton

Editorial

John Upton is an editor and reporter at Climate Central. He works in partnership with news outlets and with Climate Central researchers to produce compelling feature stories that reveal local climate change impacts and solutions. Upton has reported for the New York Times, VICE, Audubon magazine, Pacific Standard and other outlets. His major reporting projects at Climate Central have included “As Seas Rise, Americans Use Nature to Fight Worsening Erosion,” "The Injustice of Atlantic City’s Floods," and "Pulp Fiction." He has reported and edited Climate Central's ongoing series on wildfire smoke, "Breathing Fire."

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Want to Build a Delaware Beach House? Expect Regular Floodwaters in 30 Years

Want to Build a Delaware Beach House? Expect Regular Floodwaters in 30 Years

Southern Delaware Realtor Lee Ann Wilkinson has been helping people achieve their dreams of owning a beach house for more than 30 years. But owning beachfront property in a low-lying and storm-prone state like Delaware comes with flood risks. By the time some of Wilkinson's newer clients pay off their mortgages, their dreams of living on the coast… Read More

West Nile Crippling El Pasoans, Rising Temperatures Play Role

West Nile Crippling El Pasoans, Rising Temperatures Play Role

Elisa Sierra had just given birth to twins when she became infected with West Nile virus. The infection left Sierra, who lives on the West Side of El Paso, Texas, with meningitis and damaged her brain. Sierra is a clinical social worker who used to provide therapy. She’s in a similar line of work following her 2015 illness, but she doesn’t… Read More

As Seas Rise, Americans Use Nature to Fight Worsening Erosion

As Seas Rise, Americans Use Nature to Fight Worsening Erosion

The grassy yard behind Jennifer McPeak’s house was slipping into Marler Bayou, its edge giving way as waves beat against it. She planned to stem the losses with a $14,000 seawall until a Florida permitting official suggested an alternative — marsh seedlings and bags of oyster shells arranged to blossom into a “living shoreline.” A few years later, … Read More

Air Conditioning Costs Rise With Arizona’s Heat

Air Conditioning Costs Rise With Arizona’s Heat

After Curt Tyler’s air conditioner broke down five years ago, he decided to rely on a swamp cooler to save money. Now he frequently swelters inside his own house — while saving more than $100 a month on his power bills. Air conditioning is becoming more vital as temperatures rise in the Southwest’s desert cities. That’s pushing up household … Read More

Rising Seas Could Swell Arizona’s Population

Rising Seas Could Swell Arizona’s Population

Arizona’s low taxes and living costs, friendly culture, arts scenes and easy access to outdoor activities make it an appealing state in which to settle. And in decades ahead the state’s draw as a new home could be boosted as seas rise and oceans warm, forcing coastal residents to deal with fallout like strengthening storms, floods, mudslides and … Read More

How Smoke From California’s Fires is Harming the Most Vulnerable

How Smoke From California’s Fires is Harming the Most Vulnerable

David Ewing wore a bright white dust mask, his face behind it puffy and red, as he sat on a stone bench in downtown Santa Barbara, California. A fine layer of ash covered the pavement at his feet, dirty residue from wildfires ravaging the region. “When I woke up yesterday I couldn't breathe,” said Ewing, who is homeless and has been diagnosed with… Read More

Breathing Fire: Health Is a Casualty of California’s Climate-Fueled Blazes

Breathing Fire: Health Is a Casualty of California’s Climate-Fueled Blazes

As the deadliest fires in California history swept through leafy neighborhoods here, Kathleen Sarmento fled her home in the dark, drove to an evacuation center and began setting up a medical triage unit. Patients with burns and other severe injuries were dispatched to hospitals. She set about treating many people whose symptoms resulted from… Read More

Disaster and Neglect in Louisiana

Disaster and Neglect in Louisiana

A year after the worst rainstorm in a rainy state’s history killed 13 and damaged nearly 100,000 homes, the federal government has provided less than half of what Louisiana says it needs to recover. Adding to the rebuilding woes, FEMA rejected a $16 million request to fund counseling services beyond Aug. 25, even as the state’s residents report … Read More

Electric Cars Becoming Popular As Grid Gets Greener

Electric Cars Becoming Popular As Grid Gets Greener

KNOXVILLE, TENN. — The amount of heat-trapping pollution that’s released every time Bill Williams drives his electric sedan a mile down a road here has fallen by about a quarter in the three years since he bought it. Williams’ car hasn’t changed, but the electricity that powers it has. In Tennessee, power once generated overwhelmingly by coal has… Read More

The Injustice of Atlantic City’s Floods

The Injustice of Atlantic City’s Floods

New Jersey's working class are forgotten as federal government funds fixes for wealthier neighbors.

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

‘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

Mud Shortage Eroding California’s Climate Defenses

Mud Shortage Eroding California’s Climate Defenses

As agencies and nonprofits toil to restore and conserve San Francisco Bay Area marshlands, aiming to defend against rising seas and nurture wildlife, and as voters consider introducing a property tax to support the effort, a bewildering crisis has emerged. There’s not enough mud. Marshes capture mud from water to grow and sustain themselves. A wo… Read More

Climate Change Is Leaving Native Plants Behind

Climate Change Is Leaving Native Plants Behind

Willis Linn Jepson encountered a squat shrub while he was collecting botanical specimens on California’s Mount Tamalpais in the fall of 1936. He trimmed off a few branches and jotted down the location along the ridge trail where the manzanita grew, 2,255 feet above sea level. The desiccated specimen is now part of an herbarium here that’s named … Read More

Pulp Fiction, The Series

Pulp Fiction, The Series

Pulp Fiction, a three-part series — described in the New York Times as “a compelling and infuriating package” — chronicles the fast-growing practice of wood burning for electricity, and its impact on the climate. It was the culmination of five months of investigative reporting in England and the U.S. Part 1: The European Accounting Error That’s Wa… Read More