Abrahm Lustgarten

Senior Reporter

Photo of Abrahm Lustgarten

Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior environmental reporter, with a focus at the intersection of business, climate and energy. He is currently covering changes at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and working on a project about pollution at U.S. Defense sites. His 2015 series examining the causes of water scarcity in the American West, “Killing the Colorado,” was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and received the 2016 Keck Futures Initiative Communication Award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Lustgarten co-produced the 2016 Discovery Channel film “Killing the Colorado,” and has previously worked with PBS Frontline, including on the 2010 documentary “The Spill,” about how BP’s corporate culture of recklessness and profiteering led to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. That film was nominated for an Emmy. His early investigation into the environmental and economic consequences of fracking was some of the first coverage of the issue, and received the George Polk award for environmental reporting, the National Press Foundation award for best energy writing, a Sigma Delta Chi award and was honored as finalist for the Goldsmith Prize.

Before joining ProPublica in 2008, Lustgarten was a staff writer at Fortune. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Scientific American, Wired, Salon, and Esquire, among other publications. He is the author of two books; “Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster,” and also “China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet,” a project that was funded in part by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Lustgarten earned a master’s in journalism from Columbia University in 2003 and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Cornell.

Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration

Wildfires rage in the West. Hurricanes batter the East. Droughts and floods wreak damage throughout the nation. Life has become increasingly untenable in the hardest-hit areas, but if the people there move, where will everyone go?

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States

According to new data analyzed by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, warming temperatures, rising seas and changing rainfall will profoundly reshape the way people have lived in North America for centuries.

¿A dónde se irán todos?

Con el apoyo del Pulitzer Center, ProPublica y The New York Times Magazine modelaron por primera vez las formas en que podrían desplazarse los refugiados climáticos para cruzar fronteras internacionales. Esto es lo que encontramos.

Where Will Everyone Go?

ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center, have for the first time modeled how climate refugees might move across international borders. This is what we found.

About Our Climate Migration Model

How Climate Change Is Contributing to Skyrocketing Rates of Infectious Disease

A catastrophic loss in biodiversity, reckless destruction of wildland and warming temperatures have allowed disease to explode. Ignoring the connection between climate change and pandemics would be “dangerous delusion,” one scientist said.

Climate Change Won’t Stop for the Coronavirus Pandemic

The next several months could bring hurricanes, floods and fire, on top of the pandemic currently raging through the country. How do you shelter in place during an evacuation?

A Taste of the Climate Apocalypse to Come

PG&E’s rolling blackouts probably don’t eliminate fire risk, and they actually could make responding to fires harder. What they largely do is shift responsibility away from the company.

Proposed California Law Would Punish Companies for Failing to Limit Harm to the Planet’s Forests

The legislation could affect everything from what paper gets used in state offices to what gets served in California cafeterias.

Scientists Call for Drastic Drop in Emissions. U.S. Appears to Have Gone the Other Way.

A report by a private research company found that U.S. emissions, which amount to one-sixth of the planet's, didn't fall in 2018 but instead skyrocketed. The 3.4 percent jump for 2018, projected by the firm, would be second-largest surge in greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. since Bill Clinton was president.

Fuel to the Fire

How a U.S. law intended to reduce dependence on fossil fuels has unleashed an environmental disaster in Indonesia.

Potential Insurance Bill From Hurricane Florence Could Take Toll on Wallets Far From North Carolina’s Coast

Insurance companies retreated from some communities amid stronger storms, leaving a “last-resort” plan to fill the growing gap.

Defense Inspector General to Investigate Military’s Toxic Open Burning

The inquiry will evaluate whether the polluting practice is legal, and whether contractors have proper oversight.

How the EPA and the Pentagon Downplayed a Growing Toxic Threat

A family of chemicals — known as PFAS and responsible for marvels like Teflon and critical to the safety of American military bases — has now emerged as a far greater menace than previously disclosed.

Suppressed Study: The EPA Underestimated Dangers of Widespread Chemicals

The CDC has quietly published a controversial review of perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that indicates more people are at risk of drinking contaminated water than previously thought.

Congress Aims to Force Pentagon Reform on Open Burning of Munitions

A provision of the latest proposed defense spending bill mandates that the Department of Defense address one of its longstanding and dangerous sources of pollution.

Get an Inside Look at the Department of Defense’s Struggle to Fix Pollution at More Than 39,000 Sites

For the first time, the Pentagon’s internal database used to track its environmental problems is available to the public.

Canadian Research Adds to Worry Over an Environmental Threat the Pentagon Has Downplayed for Decades

A study released late last year gives environmental experts a way to quantify how much RDX, a chemical used in military explosives, is spreading into surrounding communities.

Long Story Short

An annotated history of the 30-year fight over a single polluted Air Force base.

War at Home

Unexploded ordnance. Open burns of munitions. Poisoned aquifers. Of all the military’s environmental hazards, the explosive compound RDX may be the greatest threat to America’s health.

Follow ProPublica

Latest Stories from ProPublica