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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, climate adaptation and bioenergy. 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. His major projects at Climate Central have included "The Injustice of Atlantic City’s Floods" and "Pulp Fiction."

Most Recent News Entries:

Atlantic Oil Surveys Could Kill Food Used By Fisheries

Atlantic Oil Surveys Could Kill Food Used By Fisheries

The microscopic animals that provide food for fisheries face previously unknown threats along America’s southern and eastern seaboards, and in oceans elsewhere, with new research warning of the potential for heavy impacts from oil surveys that blast noise into the sea. Scientists from the Australian island state of Tasmania have added krill larvae… Read More

Sharp Uptick in Wildfires Strains Great Plains Agencies

Sharp Uptick in Wildfires Strains Great Plains Agencies

Arizonans evacuated as wildfire approached heat wave-parched subdivisions northeast of Phoenix on Thursday followed a drill that’s becoming agonizingly commonplace through a vast stretch of America’s interior. A satellite analysis published by scientists this week showed the number of large wildfires burning up swaths of the Great Plains rose 350… Read More

New York Boardwalk Shows Climate Adaptation Costs

New York Boardwalk Shows Climate Adaptation Costs

Beachgoers in this New York City oasis can now flip-flop along a fully rebuilt boardwalk, one that reflects a coastal reimagination underway along the Mid-Atlantic and that heralds the staggering costs ahead of adapting to a changing climate. Rockaway Beach, where a holiday getaway at the southern edge of Queens long ago transformed into a dense… Read More

Trump’s Base the Big Winner from Paris Withdrawal

Trump’s Base the Big Winner from Paris Withdrawal

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement provides no clear benefits to American workers or industries. His announcement on Thursday merely hands a symbolic victory to his political base — nationalists who resent internationalism and global cooperation.… Read More

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Fix Neighborhood Floods

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Fix Neighborhood Floods

As floodwaters from some of the highest tides of the year spilled this week into cul-de-sacs and avenues from Delaware to Hawaii, new federal legislation was introduced to ease the growing toll that rising seas are taking on coastal neighborhoods. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from Florida who champions climate action, joined with Rep. Seth Mo… 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

Sharp Rise in Flooding Ahead for World’s Poorest

Sharp Rise in Flooding Ahead for World’s Poorest

Coastal residents of poor and fast-growing tropical countries face rapid increases in the numbers of once-rare floods they may face as seas rise, with a new statistical analysis offering troubling projections for regions where sea level data is sparse. Stark increases in instances of flooding are projected for Pacific islands, parts of Southeast … Read More

Warm Arctic Fuels Second-Warmest April on Record

Warm Arctic Fuels Second-Warmest April on Record

An unusually warm Arctic spring fueled the second-hottest April on record globally, with global warming and unusual weather conspiring to shrink sea ice and push up polar temperatures. April temperatures were 1.5°F (0.9°C) warmer worldwide than the 1950 to 1980 average, NASA data released Monday showed, extending to three a string of hot months in… Read More

Warmer Temperatures Drying the Rio Grande

Warmer Temperatures Drying the Rio Grande

The intensifying effects of warming temperatures on water shortages have been detected in remote northern New Mexico, where melting snowfall feeds one of the Southwest’s most important rivers. Researchers seeking to improve forecasts for how much water from the Rio Grande will be available for 5 million people each year found that rising … Read More

Interior Dept. Vows to Amend Methane Rule After Setback

Interior Dept. Vows to Amend Methane Rule After Setback

The Department of Interior plans to try to roll back rules limiting methane pollution and waste from fossil fuel drilling on federal lands, after a bid to repeal the regulations failed in the Senate. Senators voted 51-49 Wednesday against an effort to repeal the Obama-era rules, with three Republicans joining all Senate Democrats in voting to … Read More

Spending Deal Overrides Climate Science on Wood Energy

Spending Deal Overrides Climate Science on Wood Energy

Congress’s bipartisan spending agreement could fund federal government operations for less than a year, but its effects on climate policy could persist through future presidential administrations. Page 902 of the appropriations bill directs several federal agencies to develop consistent policies that would, in many circumstances, define wood … Read More

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