Ross Gelbspan

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Ross Gelbspan retired several years ago after a 31-year career in journalism as a reporter. As special projects editor of The Boston Globe, he conceived, directed and edited a series of articles that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984.

Ross Gelbspan retired several years ago after a 31-year career in journalism as a reporter. As special projects editor of The Boston Globe, he conceived, directed and edited a series of articles that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984.

In 1995, he co-authored an article on climate change and the spread of infectious disease which appeared in the Outlook Section of The Washington Post. His article on climate change, which appeared on the cover of the December, 1995 issue of Harper's Magazine, was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

In 1997, he published a book on the global climate crisis titled: The Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle Over Earth's Threatened Climate (Perseus Books). The book has also been published in German, Italian and Portuguese. (An updated U.S. paperback edition was published in 1998 (Perseus Books), as: The Heat Is On: the Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription).

The book received very positive reviews in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the science journal, Nature and elsewhere. It was excerpted in The Washington Post, the San Jose Mercury and other outlets.
It received national attention that summer when President Clinton told the press he was reading The Heat Is On.

Since the book's publication, Gelbspan has appeared in numerous radio and television interviews, including “Nightline,” “All Things Considered” and “Talk of the Nation.” He was invited to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in February, 1998, where he addressed government ministers and leaders of multi-national corporations.

In 2004, Gelbspan published Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists are Fueling the Climate Crisis – and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster (Basic Book). The book received the lead review, written by Al Gore, in the Sunday New York Times Book Review that August.

Gelbspan has written on issues related to the climate in, among other outlets, “The Atlantic Monthly,” “Harper's,” “the Nation,” “The American Prospect,” “Mother Jones” and “Sierra Magazine,” among others, as well as op-ed articles in The Baltimore Sun, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor and numerous other newspapers.

In the summer of 1998, he and Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment of Harvard Medical School, assembled a group of economists, energy company presidents and policy specialists to hammer out a set of strategies designed to dramatically accelerate the Kyoto process. They were invited to present those strategies at a conference in Buenos Aires in 1998. As a result of that presentation, the United Nations Development Programme invited them to mount a conference on those strategies in Bonn, Germany in June, 1999, during that round of climate negotiations.

The “strategies” have been endorsed by a number of large NGOs in India, Mexico, Germany, Bangladesh and elsewhere – as well as by a number of economists, energy specialists and environmentalists both in the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, the were endorsed by Margot Wallstrom, former Environmental Commissioner of the European Union, and Sir Crispin Tickell, former British Ambassador to the United Nations.

He presented these “solution” strategies in May, 2000, at a conference he keynoted in Cairo. (The conference was co-sponsored by UNEP and CEDARE, the Center for Environment and Development in the Arab Region and Europe). While in Cairo, he briefed directors and managers of Shell/Egypt.

In September, 2000, Gelbspan presented these strategies to a small group of Senators and Congressmen at a meeting in Washington. These strategies were received enthusiastically by a number of delegates and NGOs from the G-77 at the recent round of climate talks in The Hague, where they were disseminated by Anil Agarwal, head of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi and a leader of the NGO community of the G-77.

In December, 2000, these strategies were presented to a new G-8 Task Force on Renewable Energy headed by Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, director of Shell, as well as a managing director of the World Bank. Sir Mark intends to put these ideas in front of the full task force.

Over the course of his career, Gelbspan worked at The Philadelphia Bulletin, The Washington Post, the Village Voice, Scripps Howard, where he was a national news editor, and The Boston Globe. He has also taught at the Columbia University School of Journalism.

In 1971, he spent a month in the Soviet Union interviewing Soviet dissidents and human rights advocates. His four-part series on the Soviet underground was reprinted in the Congressional Record. In 1974, he edited a book for Scripps-Howard on the Congressional Watergate Committee hearings.

In 1979, the Boston Globe hired Gelbspan as a senior editor. In his capacity as special projects editor, he conceived, directed and edited a series of articles on job discrimination against African-Americans in Boston-area corporations, universities, unions, newspapers and state and city government. The series won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984.

In 1991 he published an investigative book about FBI abuses during the 1980s. The book exposed the domestic aspect of the Iran-Contra scandal, documented a secret relationship between the FBI and the National Guard of El Salvador and detailed a campaign of surveillance, harassment and break-ins which led to the entry of the names of 100,000 political and religious activists in the FBI’ss terrorism files. That same year, he wrote a series of articles which contributed to the closing down of an aging, unsafe nuclear power plant in Western Massachusetts.

Gelbspan received his B.A. at Kenyon College and did post-graduate study at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

He is 65, married to Anne Gelbspan, a non-profit developer of housing for low-income families, and the father of two daughters, Thea, 30, and Johanna, 28, and lives in Brookline, MA.

Frank Luntz Gets Religion -- But Not Ethics

Frank Luntz, the Washington-based public relations consultant who counseledThe infamous Frank Luntz President Bush to “keep the public confused” about climate science, has told the BBC he now accepts the reality of global warming.  Unfortunately, Luntz does not accept responsibility for the impact of his own actions.  Asked about the fact that Bush is still following his advice, Luntz responded: “That's up to the administration. I'm not the administration. What they want to do is their business. It has nothing to do with what I write. It has nothing to do with what I believe.” Sounds like an eery echo of the infamous “Nuremberg Defense.”

Right Wing Targets ABC's Bill Blakemore for His Mainstream Media Breakthrough

The right-wing outfit “Newsbusters” has targeted ABC News correspondent Bill Blakemore for his coverage of climage change.

Blakemore was the first major network correspondent to make the connection between weather extremes and global warming (in his recent segment on the 10-inch flood in Houston and the spreading wildfires several hundred miles away in Arizona. For breaking the long-standing reluctance of the media to make that connection, he deserves GREAT congratulations!

British Official Slams Bush Inaction on Climate

Bush climate change policy 'unhelpful'

The Financial Times, June 23, 2006 

A new British government adviser on climate change has hit out at the US for what he says is its unhelpful stance on global warming.

New Findings on 'Cane Strength Trash Assertions of "Skeptic" William Gray

Global warming accounted for around half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in the waters of the tropical North Atlantic in 2005, while natural cycles were only a minor factor, according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Global Warming Beyond Natural Cycles Fueled 2005 Hurricane

NRC Exonerates "Hockey Stick" Graph, Ending "Mann-Hunt" by Two Canadian Skeptics

Mann's “hockey stick” graph was the subject of an attack by Stephen McIntyre, a statistician and part-time consultant in Toronto to minerals industries, and Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph in Ontario.  The attack was the subject of a front page story in the Wall Street Journal.

Sea Level Rise Expert Gagged by EPA

James Titus, an Environmental Protection Agency project manager for sea level rise, wrote an essay for a law review in which he argued that the nation needed to make decisions on whether or how wetlands and beaches should be allowed to migrate inland.  Reached by telephone, Mr. Titus said he was no longer allowed to discuss such issues publicly and referred questions to the agency's press office, which would not allow him to speak about it on the record.

Ball's Warmer Canada Will Be Part of "A Different Planet"

A recent piece by Skeptic Tim Ball in the Financial Post  argues a warming climate will bring all kinds of advantanges to Canada in the form of lower heating costs, increased Arctic Ocean shipping and reduced construction costs.  What Ball doesn't tell us is that Canada will also be unrecognizeable.  As NASA scientist James Hansen emphasized recently: “Further warming of more than one degree Celsius will make the Earth warmer than it has been in a million years…That implies practically a different planet.”   Or as the chair of the IPCC noted, humanity has about a decade to make very deep cuts in its carbon fuel use “if humanity is to survive.”   Or as famed British Ecologist James Lovelock declared recently, we may have already passed “a point of no return” in terms of staving off climate chaos. 

Bush on Climate: Less Action and More Research? Not Really!

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Exxon Muzzles Its Own Board Members

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Bush's Chief Climate "Spinmaster" Tells Harper How It's Done

According to Bill Berkowitz, at Media Transparency, Frank Luntz has been keeping busy these days advising Canada's own Stephen Harper. Read the full story here.

Also interesting is this piece from the Kitchener Waterloo Record. It would seem we're not being terribly creative with our approach – read on to find out how Environment Minister Ambrose is using Luntz's tactics almost to the letter these days.

Tory Kyoto strategy mirrors U.S. plan
May 15, 2006