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.

Ringo, John, Paul, George -- Where are you when we need you?

'Rapid Warming' Spreads Havoc in Canada's Forests
Tiny Beetles Destroying Pines
The Washington Post, March 1, 2006
QUESNEL, B.C. – Millions of acres of Canada's lush green forests are turning red in spasms of death. A voracious beetle, whose population has exploded with the warming climate, is killing more trees than wildfires or logging.

Are Tar Sands Hazardous to Our Health?

High illness rate near oilsands worrisome, says Alberta health official 

CBC News, March 10, 2006 

A medical examiner in Alberta wants to know why there are reports of serious illnesses, including a rare cancer, in a small First Nations community near the province's oilsands.  

ABC's Bill Blakemore on "Mutual Therapy" for Climate Journalists

So, how do you get your mind off the methane clathrates?

Correspondent Bill Blakemore blogs about covering global warming full-time for ABC News:

There are remarkably few of us mainstream professional journalists covering global warming, given the enormity of the story. This is, after all, a story in which the most credible scientists now say life on earth could become unbearable for most humans - widespread famine and political chaos, possibly even within the lifetime of today's toddlers - if we don't soon curb greenhouse gas emissions. 

Carlyle Group To Invest in Renewables

Just days after President George W. Bush announced the U.S. would invest more in R&D for renewable energy technologies, one of  the  world’s largest investment firms, the Carlyle Group, said it would substantially boost its stake in renewables. Coincidentally, former President George H. W. Bush was a special consultant to the Carlyle Group for 10 years before his retirement two years ago.

Bush's Schizophrenic Call for Clean Energy

Even as President Bush began to call for some movement toward a clean-energy economy, his Administration fired 32 employees from the National Renewable Energy Lab – a leading agency in research and development of renewables. (It turns out the agency hastily rehired most of them just in time for Bush's presentation!)

Bush: U.S. on Verge of Energy Breakthrough

The Associated Press, Feb 20, 2006

Saying the nation is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that would “startle” most Americans, President Bush on Monday outlined his energy proposals to help wean the country off foreign oil.

Less than half the crude oil used by refineries is produced in the United States, while 60 percent comes from foreign nations, Bush said during the first stop on a two-day trip to talk about energy.

Some of these foreign suppliers have “unstable” governments that have fundamental differences with America, he said.

“It creates a national security issue and we're held hostage for energy by foreign nations that may not like us,” Bush said.

Bush is focusing on energy at a time when Americans are paying high power bills to heat their homes this winter and have only recently seen a decrease in gasoline prices.

One of Bush's proposals would expand research into smaller, longer-lasting batteries for electric-gas hybrid cars, including plug-ins. He highlighted that initiative with a visit Monday to the battery center at Milwaukee-based auto-parts supplier Johnson Controls Inc.

During his trip, Bush is also focusing on a proposal to increase investment in development of clean electric power sources, and proposals to speed the development of biofuels such as “cellulosic” ethanol made from wood chips or sawgrass.

Energy conservation groups and environmentalists say they're pleased that the president, a former oil man in Texas, is stressing alternative sources of energy, but they contend his proposals don't go far enough. They say the administration must consider greater fuel-efficiency standards for cars, and some economists believe it's best to increase the gas tax to force consumers to change their driving habits.
During his visit to Johnson Controls' new hybrid battery laboratory, Bush checked out two Ford Escapes — one with a nickel-metal-hybrid battery, the kind that powers most hybrid-electric vehicles, and one with a lithium-ion battery, which Johnson Controls believes are the wave of the future. The lithium-ion battery was about half the size of the older-model battery. In 2004, Johnson Controls received a government contract to develop the lithium-ion batteries.

While Bush is highlighting his budget proposals to help wean America from foreign oil, the lab he visited is meeting a $28 million shortfall by cutting its staff by 32 people, including eight researchers.

A Meeting of the Mindless

Bush’s Chat With Novelist Alarms Environmentalists
The New York Times, Feb. 19, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 - One of the perquisites of being president is the ability to have the author of a book you enjoyed pop into the White House for a chat.

Jim Hansen's call to action: One Response

 NASA scientist Jim Hansen: “We have to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree – warmer than it has been for half a million years.” (Feb. 2006)

Bush Administration Gives Big Oil a Free Ride on Public Lands

Who said the Bush Administration was hard-hearted? Responding to the plight of oil giants such as ExxonMobil, which netted a mere $36 billion in profits last year,  the Administration is planning to waive another $7 billion in royalties for drilling on public lands.

Red States Warm To Climate Change

From evangelicals to students to business groups, climate change is a rising political concern.
The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 14, 2006  
Global warming isn’t just a “blue state” issue anymore.

From the Rocky Mountain West to the Southeast, influential red-state voices are beginning to call for more concerted efforts at local, state, and federal levels to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

Australia Accused of Following US Lead in Censoring Scientists

The Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 13, 2006  

A former  CSIRO senior scientist and internationally recognised expert on climate change claims he was reprimanded and encouraged to resign after he spoke out on global warming. 

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