Joseph J. Romm

Joseph J. Romm

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Joseph J. Romm is an American author, blogger, physicist and climate expert who concentrates on methods of reducing greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 emissions and global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and increasing energy security
Energy security
Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

 through energy efficiency
Efficient energy use
Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal of efforts to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature...

, green energy technologies and green transportation technologies. In December 2008, Romm was elected a Fellow
Fellow of the AAAS
Fellow of the AAAS is an honor accorded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to distinguished persons who are members of the Association. Fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council for "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications [which] are...

 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

. In March 2009, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine named Romm to its list of "100 People Who Are Changing America". In September 2009, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine named him one of its "Heroes of the Environment (2009)
Heroes of the Environment (2009)
Heroes of the Environment is a list published in Time Magazine. The third list was published in September 2009. The list contains 30 entries, individuals or groups that have contributed substantially to the preservation of environment, and is divided into four categories: Leaders & Visionaries,...

", calling him "The Web's most influential climate-change blogger".

Romm is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress
Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization. Its website states that the organization is "dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action." It has its headquarters in Washington D.C.Its President and Chief...

, where he writes and maintains their climate blog, Climate Progress. In 2008, Time magazine named Romm's blog one of the "Top 15 Green Websites". In 2009, Thomas L. Friedman, in his column in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, called Climate Progress "the indispensable blog", and in 2010, Time included it in a list of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010". Romm also writes regularly for several energy and news websites.

In the 1990s, Romm served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

. Romm has published several books on global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and energy technology. Technology Review
Technology Review
Technology Review is a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was founded in 1899 as "The Technology Review", and was re-launched without the "The" in its name on April 23, 1998 under then publisher R. Bruce Journey...

wrote that his December 2006 book, Hell and High Water
Hell and High Water (book)
Hell and High Water: Global Warming — the Solution and the Politics — and What We Should Do is a book by author, scientist, and former U.S. Department of Energy official Joseph J. Romm, published December 26, 2006...

, "provides an accurate summary of what is known about global warming and climate change, a sensible agenda for technology and policy, and a primer on how political disinformation has undermined climate science." Romm's 2010 book, Straight Up
Straight Up (book)
Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions is a book by author, blogger, physicist and climate expert Joseph J. Romm. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former Acting Assistant...

, released in April 2010, is a selection of his blog postings since 2007.

Early life and career


Romm was born and grew up in Middletown, New York
Middletown, Orange County, New York
Middletown is a city in Orange County, New York, United States. It lies in New York's Hudson Valley region, near the Wallkill River and the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains. Middletown is situated between Port Jervis and Newburgh, New York. The city's population was 25,388 at the 2000 census...

, the youngest of three sons of Al Romm, managing editor of the Times Herald-Record
Times Herald-Record
The Times Herald-Record, often referred to as The Record or Middletown Record in its coverage area, is a daily newspaper published in Middletown, New York, covering the northwest suburbs of New York City. It covers Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York; Pike County in Pennsylvania; and...

 newspaper, and Ethel Grodzins Romm, an author, retired project manager, and former CEO of a technology company. Romm's brother David was the host and producer of Shockwave Radio Theater
Shockwave Radio Theater
Shockwave Radio Theater was broadcast for 28 years on Fresh Air Radio, the community radio station KFAI-FM, 90.3FM Minneapolis, 106.7FM St. Paul. Much of Shockwave Radio is archived on archive.org or on the audio page of Dave Romm's portal. Podcasts of some shows are available as Baron Dave...

, and his brother Daniel is a physician. Romm graduated from Middletown High School
Middletown High School (New York)
Middletown High School educates students in grades 9-12 from the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, which covers that city as well as adjacent portions of the towns of Wallkill and Wawayanda in Orange County, New York, USA...

 in 1978.
Romm then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, where he earned a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 degree in 1982 and a Ph.D. in 1987, both in physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

. He pursued part of his graduate work at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and earth science research, graduate training, and public service in the world...

. In 1987, Romm was awarded an American Physical Society
American Physical Society
The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than 20...

 Congressional Science Fellowship for the U.S. House of Representatives, where he provided science and security policy advice on the staff of Representative Charles E. Bennett
Charles Edward Bennett
Charles Edward Bennett was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Florida from 1949 to 1993. He was a Democrat who resided in Jacksonville, Florida.-Early years:...

.

From 1988 to 1990, Romm worked as Special Assistant for International Security at the Rockefeller Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a prominent philanthropic organization and private foundation based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The preeminent institution established by the six-generation Rockefeller family, it was founded by John D. Rockefeller , along with his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr...

. From 1991 to 1993, he was a researcher at the Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute is an organization in the United States dedicated to research, publication, consulting, and lecturing in the general field of sustainability, with a special focus on profitable innovations for energy and resource efficiency. RMI was established in 1982 and has grown into a...

. He co-authored the 1994 Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute is an organization in the United States dedicated to research, publication, consulting, and lecturing in the general field of sustainability, with a special focus on profitable innovations for energy and resource efficiency. RMI was established in 1982 and has grown into a...

 Report, Greening the Building and the Bottom Line: Increasing Productivity Through Energy-Efficient Design. For the Global Environment and Technology Foundation, he performed the first environmental analysis of a system integrating cogenerating fuel cells, fly wheels, and power electronics
Power electronics
Power electronics is the application of solid-state electronics for the control and conversion of electric power.-Introduction:Power electronic converters can be found wherever there is a need to modify a form of electrical energy...

 aimed at achieving very high-availability power. In 1990 and 1991, Romm taught a course entitled "Rethinking National Security" at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

's School of International and Public Affairs
School of International and Public Affairs
The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University is one of the most prestigious graduate schools of public policy in the world. Located on Columbia's Morningside Heights campus in the Borough of Manhattan, in New York City, the School has 15,000 graduates in more than 150...

.

In 1992, Romm published The Once and Future Superpower, a book describing his views on how to spend the peace dividend
Peace dividend
The peace dividend is a political slogan popularized by US President George H.W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the early 1990s, purporting to describe the economic benefit of a decrease in defense spending. It is used primarily in discussions relating to the guns versus butter...

 to restore America's economic, energy and environmental security
Environmental security
Environmental security examines the threat posed by environmental events and trends to national power, as well as the impact of human conflict and international relations on the environment....

. In 1993, he wrote Defining National Security: The Nonmilitary Aspects, for the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, describing how America's security depends on non-military factors such as how it obtains energy. In 1994, Romm published Lean and Clean Management, a book that discussed management techniques that can reduce the impact of manufacturing and other industries on the environment while increasing productivity and profits. He co-authored, with Charles Curtis, "MidEast Oil Forever," the cover story of the April 1996 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, which predicted higher oil prices within a decade and discussed alternative energy strategies. The same year, he co-authored a paper for the ACEEE
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, is a nonprofit, 501 organization. Founded in 1980, ACEEE's mission is to advance energy efficiency as a fast, cheap, and effective means of meeting energy challenges...

 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings on "Policies to Reduce Heat Islands". In 1999, Romm published Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity by Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the first book to benchmark corporate best practices for using advanced energy technologies, including fuel cells, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Service at the U.S. Department of Energy



Romm served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

, in charge of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is an office within the United States Department of Energy that invests in high-risk, high-value research and development in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies...

 during 1997 and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from August 1995 through June 1998, and Special Assistant for Policy and Planning from 1993 to July 1995. This office, the largest research and development program in the world, with a budget at the time of $1 billion and 550 employees, assists businesses in the industrial, utility, transportation and buildings sectors to develop and use advanced clean energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 technologies to cut costs, increase reliability, and reduce pollution.

As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Romm was in charge of all policy and technology analysis and programmatic development for the Office, which was then developing PEM fuel cells, microturbines, advanced cogeneration
Cogeneration
Cogeneration is the use of a heat engine or a power station to simultaneously generate both electricity and useful heat....

, superconductivity, building controls, photovoltaics and other renewables, biofuels, and hydrogen production and storage. Among other projects, he initiated, supervised, and publicized a comprehensive technical analysis in 1997 by five national laboratories of how energy technologies can best reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively, entitled Scenarios of U.S. Carbon Reductions.

1998 to 2006


After leaving the Department of Energy, Romm was the executive director and founder of the non-profit Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, an organization based in the Washington DC area that helped businesses and U.S. States adopt high-leverage strategies for saving energy and cutting pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 and greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 emissions. He was also a principal of the Capital E Group, which consulted on technology assessment
Technology assessment
Technology assessment Technology assessment Technology assessment (TA, German Tenteractive, and communicative process that aims to contribute to the formation of public and political opinion on societal aspects of science and technology.- General description :...

 and sustainable design services for clean energy technologies, and sat on the Advisory Board of Securing America's Future Energy.


During these years, Romm wrote widely on global warming and energy technologies that can reduce global warming. His 2004 book, The Hype about Hydrogen
The Hype about Hydrogen
The Hype about Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate is a book by Joseph J. Romm, published in 2004 by Island Press and updated in 2005. The book has been translated into German as Der Wasserstoff-Boom...

, argues that putting off the implementation of current green technologies in favor of waiting for technological breakthroughs in hydrogen cars is a dangerous distraction that will delay urgently-needed government action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The book was named one of the best science and technology books of 2004 by Library Journal
Library Journal
Library Journal is a trade publication for librarians. It was founded in 1876 by Melvil Dewey . It reports news about the library world, emphasizing public libraries, and offers feature articles about aspects of professional practice...

. In 2004, he also wrote the National Commission on Energy Policy's report, "The Car and Fuel of the Future", which was rated the #1 Hottest Article on Energy Policy by ScienceDirect
ScienceDirect
ScienceDirect is one of the largest online collections of published scientific research in the world. It is operated by the publisher Elsevier and contains nearly 10 million articles from over 2,500 journals and over 6,000 e-books, reference works, book series and handbooks issued by Elsevier...

. He was also the principal investigator
Principal investigator
A principal investigator is the lead scientist or engineer for a particular well-defined science project, such as a laboratory study or clinical trial....

 for the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

 project, Future Directions for Hydrogen Energy Research and Education (2004). Romm is interviewed in the 2006 documentary film Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s...

, directed by Chris Paine
Chris Paine
Chris Paine is an American filmmaker. His most notable works to date as director are the documentaries Who Killed the Electric Car? and Revenge of the Electric Car.-Career:...

 and narrated by Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

. In the film, Romm gives a presentation intended to show that the government's "hydrogen car initiative" is a bad policy choice and a distraction that is delaying the exploitation of more promising technologies, such as electric and hybrid cars that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase America's energy security
Energy security
Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

. As of 2010, Romm continued to view hydrogen as a "breakthrough technology illusion".

Romm's 2006 book Hell and High Water
Hell and High Water (book)
Hell and High Water: Global Warming — the Solution and the Politics — and What We Should Do is a book by author, scientist, and former U.S. Department of Energy official Joseph J. Romm, published December 26, 2006...

claims that humans have a window of opportunity of only about a decade to head off the most catastrophic effects of global warming. It calls upon Americans to demand government action to encourage and require the use of current emission-cutting technologies. Tyler Hamilton
Tyler Hamilton (reporter)
Tyler Jay Hamilton is a Canadian author, blogger and business columnist with the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily-circulation newspaper. He writes a weekly column for the paper called Clean Break that focuses on trends and developments in the clean technology and renewable energy markets...

, in his review of the book for The Toronto Star, wrote: "Whereas the first third of Romm's book presents overwhelming and disturbing evidence that human-caused greenhouse gases are the primary ingredients behind global warming, the pages that follow offer alarming detail on how the U.S. public is being misled by a federal government (backed by conservative political forces) that is intent on inaction, and that's also on a mission to derail international efforts to curb emissions."

Climate Progress and recent years


Since late 2006, Romm has been a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress
Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization. Its website states that the organization is "dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action." It has its headquarters in Washington D.C.Its President and Chief...

, where he maintains and largely writes their climate blog, Climate Progress, which focuses on climate science, policy and reporting. In 2008, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine named Romm's blog one of the "Top 15 Green Websites", writing that it "counters bad science and inane rhetoric with original analysis delivered sharply. ... Romm occupies the intersection of climate science, economics and policy. Resist temptation to lump him in with knee-jerk enviros. On his blog and in his December 2006 book, Hell and High Water
Hell and High Water (book)
Hell and High Water: Global Warming — the Solution and the Politics — and What We Should Do is a book by author, scientist, and former U.S. Department of Energy official Joseph J. Romm, published December 26, 2006...

, you can find some of the most cogent, memorable, and deployable arguments for immediate and overwhelming action to confront global warming." In 2010, Time magazine wrote, "Viewing climate change through the prism of national security, Romm analyzes breaking energy news and the relevant research, but most important, he challenges the beliefs and conclusions of the mainstream media on climate-change issues." Romm also writes for other top internet energy and news sites, including The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post is an American news website and content-aggregating blog founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti, featuring liberal minded columnists and various news sources. The site offers coverage of politics, theology, media, business, entertainment, living, style,...

, Grist
Grist Magazine
Grist is a free American liberal non-profit online magazine that has been publishing environmental news and commentary with a wry twist since 1999. Grists taglines are "Gloom and doom with a sense of humor" and "A beacon in the smog"...

, Slate
Slate (magazine)
Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...

, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, and Salon.com
Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

.

Romm has testified numerous times before congressional committees on energy and global warming issues, offering his views on government action to curb global warming. For example, in April 2010, Romm testified before the Ways and Means Committee
United States House Committee on Ways and Means
The Committee of Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Members of the Ways and Means Committee are not allowed to serve on any other House Committees unless they apply for a waiver from their party's congressional leadership...

 of the U.S. House of Representatives on how to optimize "Energy Tax Incentives Driving the Green Job Economy", and in September 2007, Romm testified before the House Committee on Science and Technology on the subject of "Fuels for the Future", specifically the use of liquid fuel from coal, which Romm believes would accelerate global warming. He also lectures on energy technology, global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and how the media portrays climate change

Romm is often cited, quoted or interviewed by journalists to explain the impact of public policy and energy technologies and applications on global warming and energy security, or to explain causes and impacts of climate change and influence of the media. For example, in 2011, The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

linked with approval to Romm's review of the scientific literature on climate change. Time magazine explored Romm's critique of Matthew Nisbet and praised his analysis of the decline of media coverage regarding climate change. The same year, Technology Review
Technology Review
Technology Review is a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was founded in 1899 as "The Technology Review", and was re-launched without the "The" in its name on April 23, 1998 under then publisher R. Bruce Journey...

quoted Romm regarding the relationship between government-assisted deployment and rapid innovation in energy technologies, and the Toronto Star
Toronto Star
The Toronto Star is Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its print edition is distributed almost entirely within the province of Ontario...

quoted Romm regarding President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address. National Geographic quoted Romm about the part that the media has played in the dearth of information about climate reaching the public. In 2010, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Countdown with Keith Olbermann is an hour-long weeknight news and political commentary program that airs on Current TV, where it began airing on June 20, 2011. The program was broadcast on MSNBC from March 31, 2003, to January 21, 2011. On MSNBC, the show presented five selected news stories of...

program interviewed Romm on how the military is taking action on climate change to improve national security; Guernica Magazine
Guernica Magazine
Guernica / A Magazine of Art and Politics is a biweekly online site that publishes art and photography, fiction, and poetry, from around the world, along with nonfiction such as letters from abroad, investigative pieces and opinion pieces on international affairs and U.S. domestic policy...

interviewed Romm on the science and politics of global warming; and The Atlantic reviewed a media call by Romm concerning the relationship between the January 2010 snowstorms in Washington, DC and global warming. In 2009, MSNBC relied on Romm to assess natural gas hydrates, and Romm was featured on 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
60 Minutes is an American television news magazine, which has run on CBS since 1968. The program was created by producer Don Hewitt who set it apart by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation....

discussing so-called clean coal
Clean coal
Historically used to refer to technologies for reducing emissions of ash, sulfur, and heavy metals from coal combustion; the term is now commonly used to refer to carbon capture and storage technology...

. Romm was interviewed twice on Fox News in 2007 and was also interviewed on the radio about the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

 on climate change, and on his views about global warming's politics and solutions.

Romm's most recent book, Straight Up
Straight Up (book)
Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions is a book by author, blogger, physicist and climate expert Joseph J. Romm. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former Acting Assistant...

, was released by Island Press
Island press
Island Press is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, environmental publisher based in Washington, D.C., that specializes in natural history, ecology, conservation, and the built environment...

 in April 2010. The book is "largely a selection of his best blog postings over the past few years related to climate change issues". TreeHugger
TreeHugger
TreeHugger is a prominent sustainability website. It was rated the top sustainability blog of 2007 by Nielsen Netratings,and was included in Time Magazine's 2009 blog index as one of the top twenty-five blogs....

describes the book as "a whirlwind tour through the state of climate change, the media that so badly neglects it, the politicians who attempt to address it (and those who obstruct their efforts and ignore [the] science), and the clean energy solutions that could help get us out of the mess." On January 26, 2011, Romm sat on the panel of the Green Car Summit of the Washington Auto Show
Washington Auto Show
The Washington Auto Show is an annual local auto show held in Washington, D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center between late January and early February. The event has evolved to emphasize and showcase the latest innovations in sustainable automotive technologies...

.

Romm's views



The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

"Dot Earth" column reviewed Romm's views on global warming solutions on November 24, 2008, including his belief that, to combat global warming, humans cannot wait for new technologies and scientific breakthroughs; that instead we must "deploy existing and near-term low-carbon technologies as fast as is humanly possible". In his blog, Romm has described the technology solutions that he believes can control global warming. The New York Times also quoted Romm as stating that, to solve the climate crisis, "We will need a WWII-style approach". The article noted Romm's belief that "credible people" and the press should publicly support the notion that government action is needed to help solve the global warming crisis. In particular, the press should explain how current news stories, such as hurricanes, droughts and insect infestations are related to global warming.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Romm believes that global warming "is advancing more swiftly than most people think and than the mainstream media usually report. He has called for significantly ramping up government spending on clean energy technology, halting the construction of new coal plants, rapidly increasing the use of energy-efficient technologies, and imposing a cap-and-trade system to sharply limit carbon dioxide emissions". In 2006, in a radio interview, Romm stated, "Global warming is going to transform this country and our transportation and the way we live our lives. If we don't act pretty soon, in an intelligent fashion, then change will be forced upon us by the radically changed climate... global warming is the issue of the century". In March 2009, Romm summarized and updated his views in an "introduction" to his blog, and in another post, setting forth a summary of "global warming impacts". Romm's 2010 book, Straight Up notes: "the bottom line is that the economic cost of action is low, whereas the cost of inaction is incalculably greater". Romm calculates that deployment of existing technologies on the massive scale that can save the climate can be accomplished at the cost of 0.12 percent of global GDP per year. He also asks, in the book, "will the United States be a global leader in creating jobs and exports in clean energy technologies, or will we be importing them from Europe, Japan, and the likely clean energy leader in our absence, China."

Romm has been critical of media coverage of global warming. In his 2010 book, Straight Up
Straight Up (book)
Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions is a book by author, blogger, physicist and climate expert Joseph J. Romm. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former Acting Assistant...

, he wrote, "Historically, even the most respected newspapers have fallen into the trap of giving the same credence – and often the same amount of space – to a handful of U.S. scientists, most receiving funds from the fossil fuel industry, as they give to hundreds of the world's leading climate scientists. No surprise that much of the public has ended up with a misimpression about the remarkable strength of our scientific understanding and the need for action". He concludes, "more and more pieces are being written by senior political reporters, who know very little about global warming".

Reputation


In December 2008, Romm was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

 for "distinguished service toward a sustainable energy future and for persuasive discourse on why citizens, corporations, and governments should adopt sustainable technologies". In March 2009, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine named Romm to its list of "100 People Who Are Changing America". Rolling Stone quoted David Roberts
David Roberts (journalist)
David Roberts is a primary staff writer for Grist Magazine, an online environmental publication based in Seattle, Washington.- Background :Born and raised in Tennessee, he pursued a graduate degree in philosophy at the University of Montana before leaving academia for the Seattle tech industry in...

, a blogger at Grist to explain why Romm was chosen: "Joe combines two qualities you don't often find together. A deep knowledge of technology, policy and science along with genuine moral passion." Former Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 mayor Bill White called Romm "the nation’s leading expert on energy efficiency."

In 2009, U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

featured Romm as one of eight "key players" in its article "Driving Public Policy in Washington", calling Romm an "oft-cited expert on climate change issues, and a go-to witness at congressional hearings". In 2009, Time magazine named Romm one of its "Heroes of the Environment (2009)
Heroes of the Environment (2009)
Heroes of the Environment is a list published in Time Magazine. The third list was published in September 2009. The list contains 30 entries, individuals or groups that have contributed substantially to the preservation of environment, and is divided into four categories: Leaders & Visionaries,...

". It wrote, "He combines ... intellect with a strong sense of moral outrage. He also possesses a Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian...

-like quality for pointing out the absurdity of his opponents." Romm's blog, in addition to being named one of the "Top 15 Green Websites" by Time magazine, was ranked as the leading "Green site", in 2009, by Technorati
Technorati
Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs. By June 2008, Technorati was indexing 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media...

. In 2009, Thomas L. Friedman, in his column in The New York Times, called Climate Progress "the indispensable blog".

In 2010, Time included Romm's blog in a list of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010". The same year, TreeHugger
TreeHugger
TreeHugger is a prominent sustainability website. It was rated the top sustainability blog of 2007 by Nielsen Netratings,and was included in Time Magazine's 2009 blog index as one of the top twenty-five blogs....

 named Romm's blog the "Best Politics Website", adding, "this is the art of blogging at its best". Also in 2010, the UK's The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

ranked Climate Progress at the top of its list of "bloggers" in its "Top 50 Twitter climate accounts to follow". Reviewing Romm's 2010 book Straight Up, Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben
William Ernest "Bill" McKibben is an American environmentalist, author, and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College...

 wrote that Romm "knows his climate science ... [and] has been a persuasive voice for the most important truth about global warming: that it is a far worse problem than either politicians or the general public understand. ... Romm has been consistent in insisting that we have much of the technology necessary to at least begin tackling the problem." McKibben says that Romm has been "a tireless foil to the 'right-wing disinformation machine' that has tried – with great success ... to delay action by confusing and disheartening Americans about global warming. ... It requires a thick skin to take on the daily task of dealing with the disinformers, but Romm has the taste for this kind of blood sport, and the talent as well." In March 2011, The New York Times called Romm "one of the country’s most influential writers on climate change".

Personal life


Romm lives in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 with his wife and daughter. Romm has long had an interest in comedy. From 1994 through 2007, he was a regular contributor to The Style Invitational
The Style Invitational
The Style Invitational, or Invite, is a long-running humor contest that ran first in the Style section of the Sunday Washington Post before moving to Saturday's Style and later returning to the Sunday paper. Started in 1993, it has run weekly, except for a hiatus in late 1999...

, a weekly humor contest run by The Washington Post. His entries appeared 343 times, including 16 winning entries, and he was the first "Rookie of the Year". Among his submissions was the winning entry of what was later declared to be the best overall week's results of the Style Invitational's first decade. (A discarded first draft of some famous line: "We hold these truths to be, like, du-uuh.")

Books by Romm

An updated edition was published in 2005 (ISBN 1-55963-704-8). The book has also been translated into German as Der Wasserstoff-boom.

Selected journal articles and reports

  • Report: "The Self-Limiting Future of Nuclear Power" AmericanProgressAction.org, 2008
  • "The Car and Fuel of the Future", Energy Policy, 34 (2006), pp. 2609–14
  • "Future Directions for Hydrogen Energy Research and Education" (Principal Investigator), Report to the National Science Foundation, November 2004
  • "The internet and the new energy economy", Resources, Conservation and Recycling, p. 36 (2002) pp. 197–210
  • "Combined Heat and Power for Saving Energy and Carbon in Buildings" (with Kaarsberg, Koomey, Rosenfeld and Teagen), Proceedings of 1998 ACEEE
    American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
    The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, is a nonprofit, 501 organization. Founded in 1980, ACEEE's mission is to advance energy efficiency as a fast, cheap, and effective means of meeting energy challenges...

     Summer Study, Pacific Grove, CA, 1999
  • Report: "The Internet Economy and Global Warming" (with Arthur H. Rosenfeld and Susan Herrmann), Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, The Global Environment and Technology Foundation, 1999–2000
  • "Engineering-Economic Studies of Energy Technologies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Opportunities and Challenges" (with Brown, Levine, Rosenfeld and Koomey), Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 1998
  • "A Roadmap for U.S. Carbon Reductions" (with Levine, Brown, and Petersen), Science, January 30, 1998, vol. 279, no. 5351, pp. 669–70
  • "Cool Communities: Strategies for Heat Island Mitigation and Smog Reduction" (with Rosenfeld, Hashem Akbari and Melvin Pomerantz), Energy and Buildings 28 (1998) pp. 51–62
  • "Policies to Reduce Heat Islands" "Policies to Reduce Heat Islands" (with Rosenfeld, Akbari, Pomerantz and Haider G. Taha), 1996 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Pacific Grove, CA. Vol. 9, p. 177
  • "Greening the Building and the Bottom Line: Increasing Productivity Through Energy-Efficient Design" (with Browning), Rocky Mountain Institute, November 1994 (peer-reviewed by U.S. Green Building Council); first published as Proceedings of 1994 ACEEE Summer Study, Pacific Grove, CA

External links