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.

An Outbreak of Censorship: When talk of Warming Becomes Absolutely Chilling

While big coal and big oil have spent millions on disinformation about climate change, the Bush Administration has upped the ante by turning industry-generated denial into a government policy of censorship.

The targets are some of the most respected climate scientists in the U.S.      

Jim Hansen, a NASA researcher who first told the U.S. in 1988 that “global warming is at hand,” complained recently he is being muzzled by officials in his own agency. His sin: suggesting that we need to act quickly to reduce carbon emissions.  As a result, NASA brass ordered the agency's public information staff to review any future statements, including interviews with journalists, by its scientists.

Congressman Resurrects Notorious Mann-hunt

Last year, the famous “hockey-stick” graph by researchers Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes, came under fire when it was deemed inaccurate by two Canadians – Stephen McIntyre, a minerals and oil consultant, and Ross McKitrick, and economist – neither of whom have any background in climate science.

Michael Crichton: Big Oil's Favorite 'Journalist'

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists is presenting its annual journalism award this year to Michael Crichton, the science fiction writer whose latest book, “State of Fear,” dismisses global warming as a largely imaginary threat embraced by malignant scientists for their own ends.

“It is fiction,” conceded Larry Nation, communications director for the association. “But it has the absolute ring of truth” he told the New York Times.

Bush's Trump Card: More Gallons Per Mile

Card rapped as stooge: Critics say energy advice is tainted

The Boston Herald, Feb. 7, 2006

Environmentalists yesterday blasted President Bush’s energy budget as the product of an administration dominated by ex-oil and auto industry executives — including former auto lobbyist turned White House chief of staff Andrew Card.

GOP Sen. Lugar, Contradicting Bush, Calls on US To Rejoin the Kyoto Process

In a direct swipe at the head-in-the-sand Bush Administration, a major Republican Senator called on the U.S. to rejoin the Kyoto process in a major address to the U.N. Security Council:  

Among other things, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana said:

“I have urged the Bush Administration and my colleagues in Congress to return to a leadership role on the issue of climate change.

GE's Green Initiative Thwarted by "Hidden Hand"

Following a widely heralded move by General Electric to substantially cut its carbon output, a tiny, dissident shareholder group has filed a resultion asking the company to stop its plan to fight global warming. In January, Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of the global giant, announced the firm was launching an 'ecomagination' program to sell $20 billion worth of green technologies over the next four years.

Hansen, NYT Deserve Praise for Standing up to Censorship

In 1988, against the background of Yellowstone National Park in flames, James Hansen, of NASA's Goddard Space Center, went before Congress to declare that “global warming is at hand.”

Last month, Hansen wrote:

The Earth's temperature… is now passing through the peak level of the Holocene, a period of relatively stable climate that has existed for more than 10,000 years. 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. …The Earth's climate is nearing, but has not passed, a tipping point beyond which it will be impossible to avoid climate change with far-ranging undesirable consequences.”

Hot Time -- Bad Timing

Three days ago, it was revealed that Stephen Harper was joining George W. Bush in a North American death wish by withdrawing from the Kyoto process. 

Yesterday, NASA scientists announced that 2005 had topped 1998 as the hottest year on record.  In fact, one NASA researcher said it was likely that 2005 may have been the warmest in several thousand years.  While the rest of the world scrambles to patch together the barest beginnings of a survival strategy, it seems clear that the alternative path blazed by the US and Australia, a followed by India, China and now Canada is becoming the non-stop route to climate hell.

Monbiot: Methane Findings Highlight the Scam of Carbon Trading

The Scam of Global Warming Is That We Pay Others For Our Complacency
The most destructive effect of the carbon offset trade is that it allows us to believe we can carry on polluting

George Monbiot, The Guardian (UK),  Jan. 22, 2006   

[A] study published  last week in Nature showed, to everyone's astonishment that plants produce methane, a greenhouse gas… But while this study does nothing to threaten global warming  theory … it should shake our  confidence in one of our favourite means of tackling it: paying other people to clear up the mess we've made.

The Wall Street Journal Embarrasses Itself Again

In a Jan. 19 editorial, titled “Kyoto’s Big Con,” the Wall Street Journal declared:

“The U.S. dropped its signature from Kyoto because arbitrary emissions targets are both pointless and economically damaging. No proof exists that lower emissions reduce global warming. The idea that human activity influences climate change one way or another is far from proven, given the overwhelming role nature itself plays in atmospheric changes. And if the warming trend of recent decades continues – by no means a certainty – it might well be a boon to humanity.”