Lisa Song

Reporter

Photo of Lisa Song

Lisa Song reports on the environment, energy and climate change.

She joined ProPublica in 2017 after six years at InsideClimate News, where she covered climate science and environmental health. She was part of the reporting team that revealed Exxon’s shift from conducting global warming research to supporting climate denial, a series that was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for public service. From 2013-2014 she reported extensively on air pollution from Texas’ oil and gas boom as part of a collaboration between several newsrooms. Lisa is a co-author of “The Dilbit Disaster,” which won a Pulitzer for national reporting. She has degrees in earth science and science writing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Millions of Homeowners Who Need Flood Insurance Don’t Know It — Thanks to FEMA

It is FEMA’s job to warn homeowners about major flood risks, but its approach is notoriously limited. In Cook County alone, researchers found about six times as many properties in danger as FEMA estimated. Look up your address with a new tool.

Tear Gas Is Way More Dangerous Than Police Let On — Especially During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the middle of a respiratory pandemic, law enforcement agencies have used tear gas in especially dangerous ways. The chemical agent also seeps into homes, contaminates food, furniture, skin and surfaces, and can cause long-term lung damage.

The Financial Catastrophe That Coronavirus Brought to Small Towns

The federal government has abandoned America’s small towns as the coronavirus depletes their budgets. It’s flood season and local leaders have no idea how to help residents through natural disasters. “We do not see how we will survive,” one told us.

A Trump Official Tried to Fast-Track Funding for His Friend’s Unproven COVID-19 “Treatment,” Whistleblower Says

Whistleblowing virologist Rick Bright says that his Trump-appointed boss tried to fast-track funding for a friend’s coronavirus treatment, and that he was reassigned for insisting that funding be reserved for “safe and scientifically vetted solutions.”

Grieving Families Need Help Paying for COVID-19 Burials, but Trump Hasn’t Released the Money

FEMA has helped pay for the burials of victims of past disasters. But months into the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has sat on similar requests. Families of COVID-19 victims have been forced to turn to religious centers and GoFundMe.

There’s Been a Spike in People Dying at Home in Several Cities. That Suggests Coronavirus Deaths Are Higher Than Reported.

Coronavirus death counts are based on positive tests and driven by hospital deaths. But data from major metropolitan areas shows a spike in at-home deaths, prompting one expert to say current numbers were just “the tip of the iceberg.”

In Desperation, New York State Pays Up to 15 Times the Normal Prices for Medical Equipment

State data shows that New York is paying enormous markups for vital supplies, including almost $250,000 for an X-ray machine. Laws against price gouging usually don’t apply.

How South Korea Scaled Coronavirus Testing While the U.S. Fell Dangerously Behind

By learning from a MERS outbreak in 2015, South Korea was prepared and acted swiftly to ramp up testing when the new coronavirus appeared there. Meanwhile, the U.S., plagued by delay and dysfunction, wasted its advantage.

You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus

Sanitizers that don’t contain the CDC’s recommended minimum of 60% alcohol are flying off store shelves and listed by sellers on Amazon for outrageous prices. Here is what you need to know.

Cap and Trade Is Supposed to Solve Climate Change, but Oil and Gas Company Emissions Are Up

Countries have called California’s cap-and-trade program the answer to climate change. But it is just as vulnerable to lobbying as any other legislation. The result: The state’s biggest oil and gas companies have actually polluted more since it started.

The Word Nobody Wanted to Say at the UN Climate Action Summit

“Offsets.”

MIT Media Lab Kept Regulators in the Dark, Dumped Chemicals in Excess of Legal Limit

Documents and interviews show the Media Lab, already under fire for accepting contributions from Jeffrey Epstein, is being investigated for an apparent violation of state environmental regulations. They paused operations after we asked questions.

If Carbon Offsets Require Forests to Stay Standing, What Happens When the Amazon Is on Fire?

The emergency threatening part of the world’s largest rainforest is proof that offsets are too risky to count on to cancel out corporate pollution, and that the Amazon needs help without strings attached.

California Legislators Urge Caution, but Greenlight a Plan That Could Lead to the Widespread Use of Forestry Offsets

Influenced by a ProPublica investigation, they emphasized the need for “vigorous and proactive monitoring,” noting concerns long voiced by scientists about the integrity of carbon credits.

United Nations Agency Criticizes Carbon Offsets

A senior official said ProPublica’s recent investigation contributed to questions raised about offsets, which the UN has long supported.

Una Verdad (Aún Más) Inconveniente Por qué los créditos de carbono para preservación forestal podrían ser peores que no tener nada

Las ansias por tener estas compensaciones nos ciegan a los alteros de evidencia crecientes que indican que estas no han entregado los beneficios climáticos prometidos, y que no lo harán.

These 4 Arguments Can’t Overcome the Facts About Carbon Offsets for Forest Preservation

Those trying to make them work reacted passionately about ProPublica’s investigation, which found they have failed to deliver the climate benefit they promise. Their arguments come up short.

Uma Verdade (Ainda Mais) Inconveniente: Por que créditos de carbono para preservar florestas podem ser pior do que nada

A corrida pela compensação de emissões está nos fazendo fechar os olhos para evidências cada vez maiores de que não tivemos — nem teremos — os benefícios prometidos.

An (Even More) Inconvenient Truth: Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing

How the hunger for these offsets is blinding us to the mounting pile of evidence that they haven't — and won't — deliver the environmental benefit they promise

“A Never-Ending Commitment”: The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches

In the wake of hurricanes like Florence, the U.S. government pays to dump truckloads of sand onto eroding beaches, in a cycle that is said to harm ecosystems and disproportionately benefit the rich.

Follow ProPublica

Latest Stories from ProPublica