About Section
Who we are

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:

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

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