Ross Gelbspan

Ross Gelbspan, a 30-year veteran journalist, is author of The Heat Is On (1998) and Boiling Point (2004), which contains more detail on his ideas for an energy transition. He maintains the Web site

Recent Articles

A Global Warning

Less developed countries are spewing dangerous emissions that will lead to global warming. But it will take money to change that--money that the wealthier, more developed nations are reluctant to spend.

G lobal warming is now accepted by reputable scientists as a genuine and severe threat. The ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1980, and the five hottest consecutive years began in 1991. In late 1995, the world's leading 2,500 climate scientists, reporting to the United Nations, declared that the recent heating of the atmosphere is caused by carbon emissions from oil and coal combustion, not by the natural variability of the climate. As the heating of the atmosphere intensifies, it will increase sea levels by as much as three feet in the next century, causing disastrous floods. Warming surface waters will also fuel dramatically more powerful hurricanes, cyclones, and windstorms. The early stages of increased warming have already altered rainfall patterns. Spreading droughts are projected to threaten food-growing regions of continental interiors. And a number of infectious diseases are spreading as the world's insect populations—one of the most sensitive of all nature'...

Earth Tones

T his summer's melting of the nine-foot-deep ice cap at the North Pole into a mile-wide lake shocked the public out of its long-standing denial about the reality of global warming. According to new findings released in September by researchers at the National Climatic Data Center, the pace of climate change is accelerating. The world can expect to experience more intense droughts, floods, heat waves, and hurricanes. And in October the World Meteorological Organization said the massive flooding in southern Asia and simultaneous record drought in northern Asia may signal increasingly profound climate change. Nature provided the setting for Al Gore to make global warming a central theme of his campaign. But despite his eloquent 1992 book on the subject, Earth in the Balance, Gore has sidestepped and minimized the greatest environmental threat in history. His campaign has viewed the book as a liability. During the GOP convention, the White House announced...

Rx for a Planetary Fever

As the earth's temperature rises faster than at any time in the past 10,000 years, the efforts of the world's policy makers to deal with global warming are withering into paralysis. With our oil and coal burning and the resulting carbon emissions in the atmosphere, we have heated the deep oceans. We have altered the timing of the seasons. We have burdened our atmosphere with carbon concentrations not seen in 40,000 years and loosed a wave of violent and chaotic weather. Yet after two and a half years of negotiations among the 160 nations that agreed in principle in Kyoto to reduce worldwide carbon emissions, we seem to be further than ever from implementing any specific climate-control strategy--or even getting the Kyoto agreement formally ratified as a treaty. The diplomatic fatigue that is overwhelming the Kyoto talks arises primarily from two sources. First, big oil and big coal have relentlessly obstructed the best-faith efforts of government negotiators. And second, the Kyoto...