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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:

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

Dredging Brings Severe Flood Risk to Wilmington, N.C.

Dredging Brings Severe Flood Risk to Wilmington, N.C.

Even as Carolinians brace for the possibility of flooding from a tropical storm this weekend, ships at the Port of Wilmington are offloading clothes and chemicals produced abroad while others depart laden with weaponry and tobacco. The port is a 24-hour-a-day cog in the region’s military- and agriculture-heavy economy, but its operations come at a… Read More

Drought-Hardy Yards Could Ease Californian Heat Waves

Drought-Hardy Yards Could Ease Californian Heat Waves

As drought-stricken residents of Los Angeles’s hottest neighborhoods replace thirsty lawns with native plants, pavers and bare soil, new research has shown how their local climates could begin tipping back in the direction of their desert-like origins. In a region beset this year by drought and powerful heat waves, the widespread adoption… Read More

California’s New Climate Rules, Explained

California’s New Climate Rules, Explained

A progressive culture and Silicon Valley-style innovation a decade ago thrust California toward the head of the worldwide pack when it comes to shifting away from polluting fossil fuels in favor of cleaner alternatives. This week, the state Assembly and Senate ensured the state’s leadership will be strengthened when lawmakers approved two key… Read More

Study Finds Biofuels Worse for Climate than Gasoline

Study Finds Biofuels Worse for Climate than Gasoline

Years of number crunching that had seemed to corroborate the climate benefits of American biofuels were starkly challenged in a science journal on Thursday, with a team of scientists using a new approach to conclude that the climate would be better off without them. Based largely on comparisons of tailpipe pollution and crop growth linked to biofu… Read More

Key Program in Doubt as California Climate Bill Approved

Key Program in Doubt as California Climate Bill Approved

California lawmakers cast key votes Tuesday for ambitious climate pollution reduction goals after 2020 — shortly before learning that an auction held under a program designed to help achieve those goals had flopped, hinting at major challenges ahead. The state Assembly voted 47-29 to approve SB32. The bill would require the state government to … Read More

With Warming, Western Fires May Sicken More People

With Warming, Western Fires May Sicken More People

Shrouded by smoke from a fire in California’s parched San Bernardino Mountains, schools in the Victor Valley closed their doors last week. The Pilot Fire was contained on Monday — shortly before the Blue Cut Fire broke out, billowing soot and ash over the valley afresh, forcing further closures. “This is a pretty unprecedented situation,” said … Read More

Biomass Power Slumps as EPA, Industry Spar on Science

Biomass Power Slumps as EPA, Industry Spar on Science

With the biomass power industry in financial tumult, its leaders are pinning hopes for revival on Congress’s potential willingness to interfere with climate science. The legislative language, introduced by some Republicans in the House and Senate and by a Democrat-aligned independent Senator, varies slightly. But it all requires that most wood… Read More

Legal Doubts Over California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

Legal Doubts Over California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

The opinion of lawyers working for California’s lawmakers became clear in the spring. Without new laws, the state’s prominent cap-and-trade program would be dead after 2020. Such a legal reality could put an end to the pollution reduction program, and with it billions in anticipated revenues and some the Golden State’s vaunted global leadership on… Read More

How a Volcano Hid the Acceleration of Sea Level Rise

How a Volcano Hid the Acceleration of Sea Level Rise

An uptick in sea level rise caused by greenhouse gas pollution during the past two decades has been hiding behind a volcano. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in Indonesia in 1991 sent tens of millions of tons of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere.… Read More

Europe Aims to Close Loophole on Wood Energy

Europe Aims to Close Loophole on Wood Energy

European officials are moving to close a loophole that promotes the burning of wood for electricity by an industry that’s felling American trees, and a new report they commissioned has laid bare the urgent need for reform.… Read More

Scientists Tease Out Climate Change’s Role in Zika Spread

Scientists Tease Out Climate Change’s Role in Zika Spread

Athletes and tourists converging on Brazil this week are crowding into a country where rapid environmental change and natural weather fluctuations nurtured a viral epidemic that has gone global. The Zika virus has exploded throughout South America, up through Mexico and Puerto Rico and into Florida, but the conditions it needed to fester in … Read More

Climate Pollution Can Complicate Fishes’ Sex Lives

Climate Pollution Can Complicate Fishes’ Sex Lives

The mating rituals of male ocellated wrasses are as intricate as their shimmering scales, and new research showing that carbon dioxide pollution can affect those rituals has some scientists fretting for the future of fish. Elevated levels of carbon dioxide — which dissolves from the atmosphere into oceans, where it changes acidity levels — can … Read More

Weather Disasters Can Fuel War in Volatile Countries

Weather Disasters Can Fuel War in Volatile Countries

Following the warmest two years on record and spikes in violence that fueled a global refugee crisis, climate scientists on Monday reported that armed fighting is prone to follow droughts, heatwaves and other weather-related calamities in turbulent countries. Nearly a quarter of deadly armed conflicts in the countries with the most diverse ethnic … Read More

Local Efforts to Save Coral Reefs May Be Futile

Local Efforts to Save Coral Reefs May Be Futile

Scientists agree that coral reefs will continue to be decimated if climate-changing pollution from fossil fuels, farming and deforestation is not addressed. They disagree, however, over whether local efforts to restrict fishing and reduce water pollution will make meaningful differences in a world of fast-rising temperatures.… Read More

California Drought, Marine Heat More Likely With Warming

California Drought, Marine Heat More Likely With Warming

A persistent wash of warm waters off the West Coast, which caused wildlife die-offs and blocked drought-quenching storms from reaching California, was caused by the happenstance interplay of natural ocean cycles, research findings published Monday show. The findings also suggested that while the drought and the blob of warm water were the result o… Read More

Dead Trees Adding to California Firefighters’ Battle

Dead Trees Adding to California Firefighters’ Battle

With drought and climate change conspiring to push California’s summer wildfire season into premature overdrive, the state’s lead wildfire agency has acquired a multimillion dollar arsenal to help it cope with unprecedented numbers of dying trees. California recently bought $6 million worth of chippers, mobile sawmills, portable incinerators and … Read More

Rodent Threat Defeated As Delmarva Battles Rising Seas

Rodent Threat Defeated As Delmarva Battles Rising Seas

A rodent resembling a rat was found dead in a trap on a warm day last spring in marshland popular with hunters and fishers. It was the last time anybody saw a nutria on the Delmarva Peninsula. A $1 million-a-year federal program that has killed 13,000 of the wetland-destroying pests on the peninsula since 2003 has failed to capture or detect signs… Read More

Fishing For Bright Spots in a World of Sick Reefs

Fishing For Bright Spots in a World of Sick Reefs

An unprecedented ecological analysis of fish survey findings from more than 2,500 reefs worldwide revealed on Wednesday that Muluk villagers of Karkar Island do better jobs than almost anybody in the West of managing fish stocks for the long term bounties they can provide. Karkar Island showed up as one of 15 “bright spots” in the analysis … Read More

Climate Impacts From Farming Are Getting Worse

Climate Impacts From Farming Are Getting Worse

As signs emerge that the global energy sector is beginning to rein in what once had been unbridled levels of climate-changing pollution, new United Nations figures show pollution from farming is continuing to get worse. Greenhouse gases released from the growing of crops and livestock directly increased by a little more than 1 percent in 2014 … Read More

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Arctic Sea Ice Thinning: Fall Fall view: Arctic sea ice has been getting thinner, even faster than its area has been shrinking

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