About Me

I am an award-winning journalist writing primarily about the environment and energy. I am working on a book about whether the planet has entered a new geologic age as a result of human impacts and, if so, what we should do about this Anthropocene. I’ve been writing for Scientific American since November 2005 and have written on subjects ranging from astronomy to zoology for both the Web site and magazine. I’ve been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999—long enough to be cynical but not long enough to be depressed. I am the host of the 60-Second Earth podcast, a contributor to the Instant Egghead video series and author of a children’s book on bullet trains. I also write for publications ranging from the L.A. Review of Books to Yale e360, speak on radio shows such as WNYC’s The Takeaway, NHPR’s Word of Mouth, and PRI’s The World as well as host the duPont-Columbia award winning documentary “Beyond the Light Switch” for PBS. Occasionally, folks invite me on TV to perform as a talking head, which is also occasionally fun. And in case you were wondering, I happen to think Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species is a surprisingly good read.

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87 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Dear David,
    Im a Master Student from Germany and I am currently writting about China and how renewable energies can change their CO2 emissions. I came several times across your article “China’s Energy PARADOX, Scientific American Earth 3.0, 2008-1218:5”. Unfortunately it was nowhere available for free. If you could send your acticle to me that would be very kind. I will only use it for my paper and not publish it somewhere.
    Your help would be very much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance

    Tina Walther

    1. Dear David,

      This post caught my eye as it involves CO2 in China.

      The Chinese Academy of Sciences recently selected the thorium-fueled molten salt reactor for the research and development of sustainable clean energy (link below).


      Have you written any articles that discuss the implications of the development of advanced thorium reactors?

      Please contact me if you would like details regarding this technology. It looks like a real game-changer, with respect to both how spectacularly profitable it will be and how little waste is produced in comparison to fossil fuels and current nuclear plants.

      I think it would be in our society’s best interest to get the word out on this one in a big way before (A) greenhouse gas accumulation becomes irreversible, or (B) China gets too far ahead of us in the development of the technology.

      Jordan Evans
      Department of Nuclear Engineering
      Texas A&M University

      1. Hi Jordan,

        Thanks for the comment. I can tell you one thing about thorium: it’s advocates are passionate! And, yes, I have mentioned China’s thorium experiment as part of an overview article I did on their nuclear efforts:


        I haven’t been able to write on it for Sci Am as of yet because, frankly, there hasn’t been anything new to say other than the efforts to revive public support. As you probably know, Sci Am has been around for a long time (oldest continuously published magazine in the US) so we’ve covered the thorium possibility quite a bit in the past. In fact, some argue that we gave the Chinese the idea to come and collect Weinberg’s research on the subject since the US wasn’t pursuing it.

        But perhaps I’m unaware of some new technical developments? Thanks again. – db

  2. Hi David,

    just read your latest Sci-Am contribution: ‘Will the world act’ and would like to send you pics – but don’t expect them to come through in this window – pics of carbon addict denial:


    Shellnhuber’s graph describes the 100% by 2020 reduction needed by countries like the US and Canada with 20 tonne plus per capita annual emissions. The 100% emission reduction by 2020 is in order to have a 60-70% chance of staying below 2C, the presently agreed upon precautionary ceiling to protect against dangerous, uncontrollable, runaway warming.

    This is not just his opinion but the product of several key papers on a global carbon budget published over the past couple of years: Meinshausen, Allen, the WGBU (Shellnhuber) paper, and the Anderson-Bows paper commenting upon what we’ve learned about carbon budgets.

    If you have high per-capita emissions (plus 20 tonnes) and the global per-capita emission rate over the next century to stay below 450 ppm / 2 C is somewhere below 2 tonnes annually then you are using a decades worth of your 21st century budget each year of present emissions. Countries like the US, Canada and Australia will, at present emission rates, use up their whole carbon budget for the next century in just the next decade. Deep, immediate cuts are necessary.

    The Bali target of 25% of 1990 levels by 2020 is today regarded as a big stretch, laughable now in these post-Copenhagen, Climategate times, but the actual science, the reality, is that to have only a 70% chance of staying under 450 ppm / 2C the bottom line is 100% by 2020.

    But the Arctic is melting and with the possibility of potent latent positive feedbacks in a climate history where even small forcings have whipsawed climate in our past, there is a substantive scientific case that getting below 350 ppm fast – not just staying below 450 ppm – has to be our new precautionary bottom line. Climate change isn’t a slow, long term threat but tipping points that we are passing over today. Climate change is an emergency requiring urgent action.

    Mark Lynas amongst others has described the dangers of increasing global temperatures by one, two, five or six degrees C. Two degrees is civilization threatening and six is probably extinction for most species including man. The history in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica is that an increase of global temperature by one or two degrees can with latent feedbacks lead to temperature increase past six degrees to major extinction events. A one degree increase is already happening. The melting Arctic ice cap will accelerate warming with albedo decrease and melting permafrost. The inter-generational ethics precautionary ceiling has arguably been exceeded.

    So what level of emission reduction should we be making in 2010? And what actions should we be taking to reduce emissions?

    And, second pic, the presentation here:

    If this picture of carbon addict denial interests, e-mail me back. Otherwise, good luck and thanks for your time,

    Bill Gibsons, B.C.

  3. Hey David, I’m doing an essay about ethanol and I need to do an interview with someone who knows a lot about the topic, could you help me out?
    1. Do you think that eventually we will be able to use ethanol to completely replace regular gasoline, even by using other green materials?
    2. What’s the cost of producing ethanol, does it balance itself out?
    3. What kind of impact is using corn for fuel making on our food supplies?
    If you could take a moment of your time to answer these questions for me, I would be very appreciative.

  4. David,

    We really enjouyed your 60 second SA update “Halloween Chocolate: More Trick Than Treat?”

    We’d love to send you a treat for such a nice trick. Please drop me an email and let’s talk!

    Daniel Scott
    for the Fearless Chocolate Co.

  5. Hello David,
    You have written many great articles, but many of them are based upon the notion that carbon dioxide is causing climate change. Look at the file at http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/hertzberg.pdf. In that file about the lynching of carbon dioxide, Dr. Hertzberg shows that carbon dioxide cannot change Earth’s temperature because CO2 already blocks all 15-micron photons. Decreasing CO2, or increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has no effect on climate change!
    Sincerely, R. Blakely.

    1. Thanks Richard for reading and writing, and thanks for sending this link. Unfortunately, I think the work from Lavoisier on down pretty much disproves Hertzberg’s contention. In fact, you can do the test yourself in the lab, if you like.

      1. I wish you would really look at Hertzberg’s work. It is more than just a theory. It is based on actual data. Carbon dioxide cannot block any more photons because all those photons are already blocked. More CO2 in the atmosphere will not alter Earth’s temperature now.

  6. David, you are involved in the “lynching of CO2” since you are calling Hertzberg’s work “nonsense”. As far as I can tell, you do not understand the physics, and so you are calling the work “nonsense”. Otherwise, you would offer a more scientific explanation of how CO2 can block more photons than it already does.
    CO2 is used in microwave waveguides because it is so transparent to microwaves. CO2 only blocks two photon types. One of these it blocks totally already. Therefore, CO2 cannot cause climate change.

  7. I was just wondering if you have ever had any articles pertaining to oil spills be published in a peer review journal, and if so which one(s). Thanks.

  8. Dear Mr. Biello,
    Your latest piece on peak oil in Scientific American is useful, and is quoted with a link in communication to an Indiana media outlet concerning itself with a “NAFTA Superhighway.” I used to concern myself greatly with road fighting, but I’ve moved on to concentrating on other aspects of petroleum dependence such as the plastic plague. Here’s what I sent to the station for their show; I could find no other way of reaching you. – JL

    Q: How can anyone square oil reality with the urge to build unsustainable new roads?

    Putting aside that the scientific findings are overwhelming that we are in effect roasting the planet and upsetting its delicate balance, we need to admit and act as if oil and refined-product prices are high (and higher when subsidies are included), and supplies of oil are unreliable geopolitically. Plus, road building is damaging to ecosystems and means more roadkill of humans and animals.

    The end of cheap, abundant oil means the end of economic growth. A new Scientific American article says, “A new analysis concludes that easily extracted oil peaked in 2005, suggesting that dirtier fossil fuels will be burned and energy prices will rise.” But that view assumes no collapse of the oil-based economy through major supply disruption can happen. Based on our experience in the 1970s’ oil shocks, now that peak oil has hit and society is unprepared with alternative fuels and materials, and the human population has mushroomed, it’s only reasonable to anticipate that in our lifetime we’ll see the house-of cards economy finished off for hapless consumers dependent on no end of polluting, toxic petroleum products.

    Despite this “negative” view, there is great joy and hope in living car-free, closer to nature, and in community which we have lost as isolated materialists working for corporations and buying their questionable, unnecessary goods.


    Thanks for putting on the debate,

    Jan Lundberg
    independent oil industry analyst
    founder, Alliance for a Paving Moratorium (now Culture Change)
    Culture Change / Sail Transport Network
    Mobile: 1-415-613-1936 Voicemail & fax: 1-215-243-3144
    P.O. Box 3387, Santa Cruz, CA 95063 USA
    Dear Friends and Supporters,

    Please tune into WTIU for this documentary. CARR co-founder Thomas Tokarski will be a panelist discussing I-69 after the broadcast.
    You can submit questions NOW for the panel discussion. The e-mail address to submit questions is news@indianapublicmedia.org.

    Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 8 PM
    WTIU Public Television

    WTIU/WFIU News presents a documentary about the various sides of the I-69 issue and explains the complications that INDOT has faced in its attempt to complete the corridor.

    The documentary debuts on WFIU and WTIU at 8 p.m. 1/26. It will be followed by a half hour panel discussion moderated by WFIU/WTIU News Bureau Chief Sara Wittmeyer. Panelists include CARR Co-founder Thomas Tokarski, Daviess County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, Ron Arnold and Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization member Richard Martin.

    The live panel will take questions from the radio and TV audiences by phone, email, and through social media sites Facebook (facebook.com/interstate69) and Twitter (@INpubmedianews).

    The Indiana Channel is carrying the documentary on 2/8/12 and 2/9/12. The documentary is also running on a number of other radio and television stations in other states.


    Thomas & Sandra Tokarski
    PO Box 54
    Stanford, IN 47463

    1. Hi Jan,

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. It’s always nice to hear from readers! And feel free to leave this comment on the SA site as well, if you care to. Thanks again.


    1. Thanks! And thanks for sharing. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the paper but I’m always interested in Haber-Bosch alternatives. Can you send me the paper?

  9. Hi David,

    I recently heard you on PRI talking about Guar beans and Halliburton and had a few questions regarding Guar and the Hydraulic Fracking Industry.

    With the dramatic rise in prices of Guar what efforts are Halliburton and their competition doing to minimize their exposure to Guar. Are they creating alternatives like the food industry? If so how are far are they along?

    What are the specifications for Guar that are bought and used for Hydraulic Fracking? Who is supplying the Guar to these companies? What is the process from the fields in India to the wells in Texas?

    I am a student at Indiana University doing a project on Guar and its affect on hydraulic fracking. If anyone has any information or a contact within the industry I could talk to about Guar it would be much appreciated.

    Scott Hedges

  10. Thank you for your latest post via 60 seconds Earth on our latest research, it is much appreciated to inform the public of what is going on in their Public lands such as their National Parks and National Forest. We hope to highlight soon the long-term ramification of what many of these toxicants left at grow sites are doing to the food web for many wildlife species in these wilderness settings.
    Thanks again!

  11. Dear David,
    Interesting blog. Can you send me a link or post it here to your Halloween Chocolate: More Trick Than Treat.

    I tried to follow your link to Dysneyland with no sucess. Is this a tweet function link only?

    Like the view on China and clean energy debate.
    What is the reason why some reject the notion of Global warming?

    Is it about Jobs, politics money bad science? What is the main objections?

  12. Dear David,

    I am a Singaporean student who’s currently conducting a research on geo-engineering experiments. I recently came across a Scientific American article by you, “Controversial Spewed Iron Experiment Succeeds as Carbon Sink”. It was very enlightening. As a non-native English speaker, I encountered some problems when reading it, but my instructors gave me different opinions. So I wonder if you could kindly help me.

    In the third paragraph, your story says, “The problem for scientists is that oceanic waters tend to mix, which makes monitoring and delineating an experiment in the ocean challenging.” I’m wondering whether the word “delineate” means “describe” or “trace the outline of”.

    And in the last paragraph but one, the story says, “… which… tend to form long strands of cellular slime…” I’m wondering whether the world “cellular” means “of (diatom) cells” or “porous”.

    Could you kindly help me out?

    Thanks in advance for your enlightenment.

    Best regards,

    Andrea Shum

    1. No problem. “Delineate” in this case means “trace the outlines of,” sort of. The problem is setting the boundaries of an experiment in the ocean because of this water mixing. The scientists’ solution? To do it in a gyre, which, as long as it lasts, has coherent boundaries.

      And “cellular” definitely means “of (diatom) cells” in this case. Long strands of material made from dead diatom cells was sinking to the bottom.

      Thanks for the questions and good luck! – db

  13. Hello David!

    My name is Ari and I am a second year student at the University of Toronto. I am in a specialist program for Physical & Environmental Geography and currently writing a research paper regarding climate change from an environmental, economical, ethical perspective.

    I came across many of your articles and found them insightful and eloquent. Needless to say you will be cited multiple times in my paper! I would love if I could reference you directly (in addition to your articles) in this project.

    The questions I am most interested in hearing your response to are:
    In your opinion, what is/are the most compelling argument/s in favor of taking action on climate change?
    Moreover, what are the most profound implications of climate change?

    Any response would be greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance for your help!! Have a great day.


    1. Hi Ari,

      Thanks for writing and good luck with your studies. I’d be happy for you to cite me (and would love to see the final result):

      I think the most profound implication of climate change is that we have become the dominant species on the planet. If that wasn’t apparent before now, it certainly should be as we change the very mix of the life-giving atmospheric gases wreathing the planet. We have similar profound impacts on basic biogeochemical cycles: carbon, obviously, but also nitrogen, and even water. Given that we also have the possibility of being conscious about our role, it’s also high time we start taking responsibility for our actions and proactively managing our impacts.

      But the most compelling reason for taking action on climate change remains human suffering. The actions of folks in rich countries are starting to impact the livelihood of folks in poor countries. It’s as simple as that, though, of course, that doesn’t discount many of the other compelling reasons for taking action: species extinction, loss of unique biomes like Arctic sea ice, coastal flooding from sea level rise and the like.

      Hope that helps.

  14. David,
    I just listened to your interview about Uni-Solar. This past week I attended a conference on Energy Solutions for the Southeast. One of my interest was the Future Farmstead build site. Cadmus Construction is a major sponsor for this project. They used UniSolar Thin film which seemed to work great. Now I see they went under and maybe bought by Quarton Partners, an investment firm. Have you heard whether or not this happened? You mentioned in the interview that they were a very large firm, so was Solyndra. Is thin film still a viable product? I am a solar equipment sales rep for a small company in south Georgia, http://www.okefenokeesolar.com. The idea and simplicity of thin film works well with the metal roofs on farms and barns any insights?
    YOu mentioned that you thought the going rate for a kwh was $.16 is that still true? Where did you get that number?wriggins3@gmail.com
    Ward Riggins

    1. Hello Ward and thanks for listening, reading and writing in. I’m not sure who ended up with the assets of Unisolar, that may still be in the process of being worked out in bankruptcy court. But there is no doubt that thin film is a viable product from a technology standpoint so, for example, Dow’s solar shingles might be a good bet for those who had previously favored Unisolar’s thin film shingle. I’m also pretty sure that price number is (way) out of date. More up to date numbers can be found in this report:

      Click to access LBNL-5919e-REPORT.pdf

      Hope that helps! – db

  15. Mr. Biello,
    I am writing a paper and I need to show that my sources are credible. I need to do this by including applicable experience and educational information. I have found a lot online about your experiences but not your education. What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

  16. Hi David,
    I heard you yesterday being interviewed by Warren Olney on “To the Point” KCRW, are you the person who said the EPA’s “tough” new carbon emission standards for coal plants will in fact only effect TWO imminent plants and possibly another couple in the future? Have you written about this, could you send me a link please, I am also researching this shockingly paltry factoid.


  17. Hello Mr. Biello,
    For our AP English class we are required to choose a columnist that interests us and read their columns. At the end of the semester, we do a report on the columnist. I just wanted to let you know I very much admire your writing and find all of your articles very interesting, so I chose you for the first semester.

  18. Dear Sir, To fight global warming, have the United Nations create ‘The Global 50/50 Lottery’, the world’s first honest global lottery, to raise the massive funds needed to buy clean electricity generating wind, solar, ocean and water systems, to replace the electricity from our coal burning electric power plants that are emitting the carbon dioxide that is causing global warming. Remember, human greed is like a force of nature that can move mountains. If we can exploit it to fight global warming, we just might beat it!

  19. Hi, David. I would just like to tell you how much I appreciate your articles on carbon. I am aspiring to write like you one day! Just for reference, what type of degree do you have? Thank you so much!

  20. Hi Mr, Biello!
    My name is Lailah Ligons from Wake STEM Early College High School at NC State. I am in the ninth grade. Since I am doing a project on Carbon Capture and Storage, I was wondering if you could help me with some questions on the topic. I know that you have written an article about it before.

    In your professional opinion what do you think is the best way to capture carbon dioxide in the air?

    In hundreds or thousands of years later what do you think we should do with the stored carbon?

    Do you know of any beneficial ways we can use the carbon instead of just putting it into the ground?
    If you get the chance please answer these questions. Thank you!

    Thank you,
    Lailah Ligons

      1. Mr. Biello,

        Alright, thank you for your input. The questions are for a project, in which we need to get information directly from a professional. Again, thank you for the input!

        Lailah Ligons

  21. Hello David, my name is Claudio from Mexico City, Im about to finish my degree in graphic design and animation but I been working in desing agencies since one year ago and Im plannig to have my own studio soon. However I need to have a big amount of examples of what Im capable to do and I wanted to ask you if I can use your 60 seconds audios to make some exercises of animation for porfolio use. Its really difficult to find a good source of content and your audios are amazing for this kind of stuff!! I will try to make something similar to this videos: http://kurzgesagt.org/projects/

    I cant wait for your answer and keep your amazing work


  22. I forgot to mention that of course will leave links in the description of the videos that redirect you to the project’s sources

    1. Hello sir! And thank you for your kind words. I have no objection to this but, unfortunately, I am not the copyright holder on those podcasts. My employer Scientific American is. So I can’t technically give you permission.

      Here’s the relevant legal-ese:

      Scientific American grants you a revocable license to display and electronically copy, download and print hard copy versions of the material contained on the site for your personal and noncommercial use, provided you do not modify or delete any copyright, trademark or other proprietary notice that appears on the material you copy, download or print. No other use of any of the contents of the site is licensed, and you agree that you will not make any other use of the material on the site, including but not limited to the copying, modification, distribution, transmission, performance, broadcast, publication, licensing, reverse engineering, transfer or sale of, or the creation of derivative works from, any of the contents of the site. Requests for permission to reproduce or distribute materials found on our website should be sent to Scientific American, a division of Nature America, Inc., Permissions Department, 75 Varick Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10013-1917, or randp@sciam.com.

      Of course, seems like it would be fair use if the goal is simply to use it for class? But I’m no lawyer. Hope this is helpful and sorry. Good luck! And thanks again. – db

  23. Hello my name is Shambrielle Washington. I am a student at Phillips Community College at the University of Arkansas on the Helena Campus. I gave an oral report in my general chemistry class on the article, “Tiny Ocean Plants Geoengineer Brighter Clouds” which was posted on scientificamerican.com on July 20, 2015. I found much interest in the article and I was wondering if the ocean plants had the same effect when it gets dark outside. Thank you for your time.
    Shambrielle Washington

    1. Hi Shambrielle, thanks for reading. The particles are still up there at night but the sun is not. So while some condensing is still going on it’s not as much. Ditto for the long, dark winter months.

  24. Greetings, David. Earlier today I stumbled upon two of your most recent Sci Am articles and they gave me the impression that you are either unaware of the promise of soil carbon sequestration, or you’re more aware than I am and may have knowledge about why it’s not as promising as I think it is. I’m not referring to any form of engineering or new technology, this is about restoring natural processes that humans have altered to the detriment of soil, ecosystems, the atmosphere, the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, water cycle…. Through proper land management practices, spectacular amounts of carbon can be returned to the soil, and this has numerous additional benefits such as increasing water retention, reducing erosion, and increasing biodiversity. It’s such an all-around winning strategy that I find it very frustrating to see so much written about all manner of expensive and exotic technologies for ccs and geoengineering, while the most simple solution is literally right at our feet. Perhaps it’s not getting the attention it deserves because it involves changing human behavior, and there really isn’t any way for corporations to profit from it. Please, either set me straight and let me know why this is being ignored, or write about it and get the world’s attention through your access to a wide audience! For reference, here is an example of an article and video that discuss the practices I’m referring to: http://fusion.net/story/245309/healthy-soil-equals-healthy-planet/

    1. Hi George,

      Thanks for writing in. In fact, restoring carbon to soil is indeed a very promising technique for dealing with global warming. But ti’s also a tricky one given present agricultural realities. It’s not so much that corporations or farmers can’t profit from it (there was a very successful program that paid Iowa farmers for sequestering carbon as part of a voluntary cap-and-trade market in Chicago) but that it interacts with so many other systems (what kind of tractor do you have? What kind of soils? What’s your crop rotation? Etc.) But for certain it–whether different tillage techniques, enhancing microbial activity or biochar itself–should all be pursued. Perhaps it’s time for an update article!

      1. Thanks for the reply, and yes I think it would be great to see more written about this, especially in light of the issues you noted about the difficulties in bringing this type of solution into play on a large scale. Maybe you can do a piece that integrates a number of different interconnected technologies and practices that don’t get widespread attention. What you’ve said in your response to me is a great start, as I had not looked at it from that angle of how it intersects with other systems. It seems like most of the R&D, and most of the reporting, focuses on solutions in isolation from the systems in which they’re embedded, so that we’re likely to create many new problems in the process of addressing the current crisis.

  25. Dear David Biello,

    I’m writing to let you know about a fascinating new book about animals and technology coming out form New Vessel Press in April called Animal Internet: Nature and the Digital Revolution.

    This lively and engrossing volume, by Alexander Pschera and with an introduction from the director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, explores how a new digital revolution is transforming human ties with the natural world in the wake of the Internet’s profound impact on society.

    Here’s a brief description of Animal Internet and some advance praise:

    Some 50,000 creatures around the globe—including whales, leopards, flamingoes, bats and snails—are being equipped with digital tracking devices. The data gathered and studied by major scientific institutes about their behavior will not only aid in conservation efforts and warn us about tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but radically transform our relationship to the natural world. With a broad cultural and historical lens, this book examines human ties with animals, from domestic pets to the soaring popularity of bird watching and kitten images on the web. Will millennia of exploration soon be reduced to experiencing wilderness via smartphone? Contrary to pessimistic fears, author Alexander Pschera sees the Internet as creating a historic opportunity for a new dialogue between man and nature.

    “Bold and fascinating … proposing that the Internet—and other digital technology—offers an opportunity to rediscover our animals as more than abstracted images but as autonomous individuals with inherent value. A truly thought-provoking book for animal lovers and technology enthusiasts alike.”—Kirkus Reviews

    “This surprising book offers a great shout-out to the next phase in our relationship with non-human beings: our brand-newly emerging recognition that they, too, are individuals, leading individual lives.”
    — Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Thinks and Feel, and Song for the Blue Ocean

    “At last, a convincing explanation for why waldrapps are on Twitter and quolls on Facebook. In beautiful, philosophical prose, Alexander Pschera even explains why cats rule the Internet. The first book that brings nature and technology together with animals as individuals and streams of big data alike.”—David Rothenberg, author of Bug Music and Survival of the Beautiful

    “A most important book. This excellent work could be a strong catalyst for people to become re-enchanted with all sorts of mysterious and fascinating animals, both local and distant. By shrinking the world it will bring humans and other animals together in a multitude of ways that only a few years ago were unimaginable.”
    — Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, author of Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence

    “An original book that goes against the trend to stubbornly keep nature and technology divided from one another.”— Der Spiegel

    “The Animal Internet is one of the most interesting books that I’ve read in recent years.”— Bavarian Radio

    “What Pschera describes sounds futuristic but it’s already widespread reality … Pschera’s book is not just popular science: he describes not only the status quo, but also thinks about an ongoing transformation.”—Wired.de

    Animal Internet is an iconoclastic work dealing with the confluence of technology, environmental thought, and wonder at the natural world. ANIMAL INTERNET will be published in April 2016; I’d love to send you a copy if you’ll let me know the best address.

    Michael Z. Wise
    Cofounder, New Vessel Press

  26. Dear Dr. Biello,

    We are grade eight students at Baird Middle School in Ludlow, Massachusetts working on an interdisciplinary history and English project to participate in the C-SPAN StudentCam video contest. We are creating a five to seven minute video on an issue we believe the new president and Congress should prioritize, and we are required to interview experts on the topic. Our topic that we will be talking to you about is on the topic of climate change. We are hoping you might be available to be interviewed between Friday, December 9th and Monday, December 19th during the hours of 8:00 am-2:30 pm, however these dates are flexible to accommodate your schedule. We might also be able to interview outside of school hours if that is more convenient for you. This interview could be over Skype and should only take about fifteen to twenty minutes of your time. We would send you the questions in advance. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

    Justin Costa, Alex Wurszt, Krystian Kryczka

  27. Hello David, Grateful for your latest book addressing the transcendent issues before us, and introducing pending massive change in our civilization. And asserting that electric cars may not be environmentally prefereable, since they’ll need electicity primarily generated by fossil futel.

    My 1982 book “Los Angeles: A History of the Future” is the first attempt to describe the systematic rebuilding of a metropolis toward balance with nature. http://paulglover.org/lahofbook.html I’m author of six books on grassroots economies and founder of a dozen organizations which model such change: Philadelphia Orchard Project, Citizen Planners of Los Angeles, Ithaca HOURS local currency, etc.

  28. Hello Mr. Biello. To what address might you like top receive a short book I’ve written on how to build roads and bridges with solar, geo-thermal and water purification without taxing or borrowing?

  29. Hello Mr. Biello. My name is Ashley, and I am a sophomore at Cheyenne Mountain High School from Colorado Springs, CO. I am constructing a presentation on Animal Agriculture and its effects on the environment. I am interested in interviewing you for your experience with this issue. I wont need more than a few minutes to talk with you over Skype or FaceTime. It would be great if you could respond to me as soon as possible so we could schedule a time, thank you.

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Sounds like a lovely project and thanks for reaching out. Sadly, I won’t be able to do this interview until May at the earliest so perhaps you need to find someone else? Best of luck. – db

  30. Hi David, I’m working on a project about the future of energy for a professor. We are looking at the evolution of energy dense materials and what could await us in the future. I was wondering if you knew of any new experimental materials claiming to have the highest energy density recorded. It can be batteries, nanomaterials, or any other systems.


    1. Hi Austin, thanks for reaching out. Energy density is a tricky concept and kind of depends on how you measure things, but it’s going to be awfully hard for batteries or nanomaterials to ever approach the energy density of diesel and gasoline (or, ahem, human fat.) But perhaps we can make those hydrocarbons in other ways. Good luck with your assignment.

  31. Hi David,
    I thought you might like to know your article ‘Nuclear Blasts May Prove Best Marker of Humanity’s Geologic Record ‘ (Scientific American 2015) was the inspiration for this datapoem (www.poetryindata.com/poem/anthropocene) about humanity’s place in the fossil record. No idea if you’re a poetry fan, but you’re clearly a fan of science and the written word, so you might like it!
    Your Sincerely,

  32. David, was your father Dr. Daniel Biello who graduated from CWRU Medical School in Cleveland? I worked with him from 1981 to 1985 in St. Louis and he was an awesome scientist and teacher. You can contact me via my email which I understand will not be posted and I can share some memories of him with you if you wish.

  33. David, I attended your talk today at the Lamont Observatory. I was the one that asked the first question… it was clear the moderator did not want to hear anything I had to say. I had leave and could not stay to talk more. However, I do want to follow up with my critique. As I said, I am a skeptic on the theory of AGW. If you want to reach me or people like me, who are engineers and scientists, who disagree with the climate change agenda, you need to do the following.
    1. Keep to the facts.
    2. Don’t bring in enviromment conservation into the mix. You can be a conservationist, for clean water and clean air and protect endangered species without buying into the AGW.
    3. Have scientists admit they don’t know everything. It is still very much a work in progress.
    4. Don’t hype the long term projections to scare people. It does not work and in fact damage their credibility. Like Al Gore…
    5. Discuss how these various climate models have deficiencies and why they fail long term predictions.
    6. Admit there are legitimate reasons for people like me to be skeptics. The buckets are many and not just two, fore and against climate change. The group like me are skeptics for very good reasons. We don’t want to give up our SUVs and buy into expensive solar and wind power that are not cost effective so far.
    If they really want to convert to renewable non fossil fuel, they would support nuclear power but they don’t do they?
    7. Finally, the time frame is a huge problem. If the projections are for the next decade, then of course it is dire. If however, the projections are for the next hundred years, then we do have time to mitigate and find alternative solutions…
    However, if the dire projections will not materialize for a thousand years, then it is moot. A lot of other things will take precedence over climate change. Like an asteroid or a major earthquate or tsunami…or some other natural disaster.

    Look, I have attended many talks by climate change scientists. Many of their research are sound. However, they do not proof causation. They can say the earth is warming and it causes xyz… however, they have not proven the earth is warming due to human activity and to what percentage. Is it 25%, 50% or 100%?
    We know for a fact that the earth goes through periodic climate cycles every 100,000 years or so. The ice age comes and goes.

    Here is one sure proof if any of your scientists are up to the challenge. If during another low solar sunspot cycle such as the one we are about to enter, and by all past indicators, the earth should be cooling by a few degrees, instead due to our human activity, it is rising in the opposite direction. Then, I as a skeptic, will be convinced. So far, no other experiment or study has been able to separate the data from the noise. That is, the current variations of climate is within statistical norm of natural cycles.

    You can contact me if you want more details, since I have been studying this for many years. I also have a website that has much more detail of my findings…and explain why I became a skeptic.
    – Jack Lee
    Yorktown NY

  34. David, I attended your talk today at the Lamont Dogherty campus. I was the one asking the first question at the end.
    My name is Jack Lee and I have been following the science of climate change for many years.
    As I said, I became a skeptic because the predictions fail to materialize.
    Also, I believe the coopting of the environment conservation by the extremists makes your case weaker.
    As a conservationist, I do want clean air and clean water and save the animals…but that does not mean I have to buy in to the AGW theory. They are two different issues. CO2 is not a pollutant gas.

    Anyway, it was good hearing your side.
    Just want to give my two cents.
    I also have a website that goes into detail on my various topics including attending many of the scientific talks…


    It is rare to find someone who can discuss this at a reasonable level away from the politics…
    Jack Lee
    Yorktown NY

  35. Dear Mr. Biello,
    I have been reading your many articles on energy this past weekend and I have got to admit you have an excellent mind. I am a student in the International Baccalaureate Programme at my school and we constantly discuss global issues. After reading your work on nuclear energy, I have gained utmost respect; please reach out to me via email at your convenience. I have an oral presentation on the controversy on nuclear this week and would appreciate some pointers.

  36. Hi David,
    I have stumbled across some of your articles while doing some research on dead zones for a project. With that in mind, I was wondering if you had time for an interview sometime in the following weeks as it would be of great help for me and my environmental college class. I hope to hear from you soon and if there is anything you need to make this possible, feel free to let me know.
    Thank you for your consideration.

      1. Thank you so much, can you provide a way so that I can reach out to you and find the best way to do the interview?

  37. Hi David,
    Looking for help for a problem. We are being murdered by the environment. I woke up in 2014 and realize my neighbors were sick or dead. I am very sick myself. I called a environmental group out of state. I’ll begin telling about the landfills, power stations, superfund site, air conditioner disposal business, chemical manufactures, Years of abuse from farming is just some of our environmental hazards. Cats, dogs, and horses are coming down with tumors. The lady at the Environmental group told me I live in area of less resistance meaning hazardous waste usually put on African-Americans or lower income. This land was given to the slaves after the war. Now, it’s the riches town in Mississippi a bedroom area to JACKSON MS.. I called every environmental group in the US in 2014. Environmental Groups will not come to the south! The local Sierra would not even call me back after I called their boss in California. America this is your mother are also! A investigative reporter told me about the Superfund site that’s on a Creek. One of the chemicals in that site stays in the water supply for hundreds of years. I was also told that Madison County Mississippi is number one in breast and prostate cancer deaths in the US. Madison county Mississippi is number two in all cancer deaths in the US. That is a big O cancer cluster! The landfills, power stations, Superfund site, cancer statistics is all government proven dangerous/deadly! I spoke out in 2014 and it was not very well received. People will keep dying in this seemingly safe place to live. Sending out a SOS!

  38. Dear David,
    Thank you for your well written articles critiquing many popular approaches to addressing the complex problem of adverse anthropogenic climate change. If you are able to offer an opinion on a new strategy and enabling technologies outlined in the attached gif poster (3MB) I would appreciate it. I will need an ordinary email address to do this. I am trying to commercialise the technology so would ask you not publishing the material – in order not to jeopardise future intellectual property usually needed for successful commercial implementation. My plans are for lisencing IP broadly and cheaply, merely to cover costs of the remaining R and D, not to make a lot of money for myself. Nevertheless implementation needs to be driven by commerce not tax payer subsidies. Any new approach which combines both energy and negative CO2 emissions, (plus lower methane, nitrous oxide, black carbon, reforestation etc) needs to easily pay for itself in competition with cheap thermal coal and shale oil at present prices for at least the next few decades, which are critical from a climatic perspective.
    Best regards,
    Dr Errol Smith, BSc (maths & physics), MBBS (equiv to USA MD), BTh.
    Sydney, Australia
    Poster 2018 colour GIF.gif

      1. Dear David,
        I have previously sent an old fashioned email with gif attachment to your dbiello at sciam.com address. I’d rather not put the gif poster on Twitter where it might get unwanted publicity. You probably have my email address in your system. If you want to have a phone conversation that may be an efficient way to cover the several fields covered in the strategy and technologies. I will resend the gif and my phone number to your sciam address.
        Thanks for responding,
        Errol Smith

      2. Hi David, I’m still learning how to use Twitter but it seems that direct messages to you are blocked. The dbiello at sciam.com also seems to be not working for me, at least with 3MB attachments. You probably have my email in your system. Best wishes, Errol

  39. Hey David, I recently have felt discouraged in my efforts to help with the mitigation of climate change. I have been focused completely on supporting a carbon fee & dividend national policy. I decided on this solution because I feel it has the best hope to be most widely accepted, survive future administrations and be very effective – and I think it could cause a domino effect with other countries. It seems politicians are touting “energy innovation” but its really a euphemism for something unattainable at the scale needed like relying on carbon sequestration. My idea of innovation is better renewables and just halting the burning of fossil fuels. And I keep reading about all the money from so many organizations and governments supporting the fossil fuel industry. I just sometimes feel like my efforts are hopeless. So with your wisdom on this topic, what is the top area that I can focus on that will have the most impact to solving the climate crisis? (And don’t tell me to take the bus or turn down my heat). Time is short.

    1. Hi Robin! Apologies for the delayed reply, I have too long neglected this site. No more! I know exactly how you feel and what you mean. Time *is* short, and yet it can always be that much worse so it’s not too late. Remember that, first and foremost. I have a few things that I would suggest: (1) lobby to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies. This is hugely important and attacks the core of the problem https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/news-blog/how-much-in-subsidies-do-fossil-fue-2009-09-18/

      (2) Vote. As you may have noticed, politics is everything when it comes to combating climate change, whether it’s ending fossil fuels power or increasing the budget for energy innovation (yes, we *do* need it, along with *massive* deployment of the technologies that already exist https://e360.yale.edu/features/green_energys_big_challenge__the_daunting_task_of_scaling_up

      Of course there are many more ways to have an impact but those two stand out to me. I hope that helps. And if you need a bigger dose of well-founded hope might I suggest reading The Unnatural World? Finally, and most importantly, thank you for your efforts.

  40. Hi David its Lutho Here from South Africa.
    Im interested in starting a Oil Recycling business but my problem is where and how can i refine it or sell it to? will you please help on how can i start this business or get into this business.


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