chris mooney

Thu, 2013-01-17 06:00Farron Cousins
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National Climate Assessment Delivers Dire Warning On Climate Threat

A draft version of the 2013 National Climate Assessment is making headlines this week, and not because it is so uplifting.  According to the report, the effects of climate change are becoming alarmingly visible throughout America and the rest of the world.

The 1146-page report reads less like a government assessment and more like the Old Testament.  Accounts of hurricanes, droughts, floods, impending famines, and natural disasters of every kind are listed in the report, and all of these occurrences have been directly linked back to climate change.

Fri, 2013-01-11 05:00Chris Mooney
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The Science of Why Comment Trolls Suck

This piece originally appeared on Mother Jones as part of Climate Desk. 

Everybody who's written or blogged about climate change on a prominent website (or, even worse, spoken about it on YouTube) knows the drill. Shortly after you post, the menagerie of trolls arrives. They're predominantly climate deniers, and they start in immediately arguing over the content and attacking the science—sometimes by slinging insults and even occasional obscenities. To cite a recent example:

What part of “we haven't warmed any in 16 years” don't you understand? Heh. “Cherry-picking” as defined by you alarmists: any time period selected containing data that refutes your hysterical hypothesis. Can be any length of time from 4 billion years to one hour. Fuck off, little man!

It was reasonably obvious already that these folks were doing nothing good for the public's understanding of the science of climate change (to say nothing of their own comprehension). But now there's actual evidence to back this idea up.

Tue, 2011-09-20 11:44Guest
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James Powell: Science Denial Is Not Free

The following post is from James Powell, author of The Inquisition of Climate ScienceThis is the first post in a 3-part series. It originally appeared at Columbia University Press.

In May 2011 the US National Academy of Sciences declared that “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. Each additional ton of greenhouse gases emitted commits us to further change and greater risks…. The environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks of climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare to adapt to its impacts.” One hundred other national and international scientific organizations agree with the NAS. How many disagreed? None. Zero. Zilch. As one scientist put it, “There’s a better scientific consensus on this than on any issue I know—except maybe Newton’s second law of dynamics.”

One organization that does dispute the NAS and the world consensus on global warming is the US House of Representatives. In April, the House took up a bill to remove the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, opening a new front in the Republican War on Science (title of a great book by Chris Mooney). Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA) offered a countering amendment with language nearly identical to that of the Academy: “Congress accepts the scientific findings of the Environmental Protection Agency that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.” The amendment failed 184-240, with one Republican voting in favor and three Democrats against.

Thu, 2011-02-10 06:00Jim Hoggan
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Exciting Updates and New Additions to DeSmogBlog

DeSmogBlog was launched five years ago to clear the PR pollution that clouds climate science by exposing the influence of polluter interests working to mislead the public about global climate change.  While we have educated millions of people along the way, the success of the fossil fuel industries’ ongoing campaign to create confusion and ensure policy inaction demonstrates that our work has never been more important than it is right now.

As we mark the 5th anniversary of DeSmogBlog.com, the DeSmog Project is excited to announce new leadership, improvements to our website, additions to our team of writers and researchers, and a glimpse at our plans for 2011.

Sat, 2010-12-04 12:48Brendan DeMelle
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House Global Warming Committee Axed By GOP Climate Zombies

The GOP’s anti-science climate zombies claimed their first victim late this week, with House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-OH) announcing his intent to shut down the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming when Republicans take control of Congress in January.

Rep. Boehner claims he is wielding the axe in order to “save several million dollars” by shoving the climate issue back into the exclusive purview of the House Committee on Science and Technology.  In fact, Boehner is proving to the public that the GOP fails to recognize the serious consequences for America’s economy, national security, public health and future generations posed by climate change.

While the Democratic leadership of the waning 111th Congress failed to get legislation passed into law to address climate change, the House global warming committee, led by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), convened dozens of important hearings and briefings featuring top climate scientists and national security experts to educate Congress and the public about the need for swift action to secure America’s energy independence, create clean energy jobs and mitigate climate change emissions.  Markey’s committee also played a key role investigating the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrating its role as an important polluter watchdog in Congress.

With climate issues now shoe-horned into the House Committee of Science, there is simply no way climate change will receive the critical focus it deserves, since climate science will compete with all other scientific matters for attention from Congress.

Thu, 2010-09-09 16:02Brendan DeMelle
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Nature Editorial Slams GOP For Anti-Science Tendencies

There is no getting around the fact that the U.S. Republican Party simply hates science.  It didn’t used to be that way.  But it is now, and the timing of a recent uptick in this phenomenon couldn’t be worse.  

The anti-science strain pervading the right wing in the United States is the last thing the country needs in a time of economic challenge.”

That is the subtitle of an excellent editorial today in the journal Nature, “Science Scorned,” which discusses how dangerous this trend is, pointing out that:

There is a growing anti-science streak on the American right that could have tangible societal and political impacts on many fronts — including regulation of environmental and other issues and stem-cell research.”

Nowhere is the right wing’s anti-science stance more starkly apparent than on the issue of climate change, as Nature notes:

Denialism over global warming has become a scientific cause célèbre within the movement. [Rush] Limbaugh, for instance, who has told his listeners that “science has become a home for displaced socialists and communists”, has called climate-change science “the biggest scam in the history of the world”.

Nature is a highly respected journal, and it is encouraging to see the editors take a strong stand against the GOP’s betrayal of science and reason. Science should never be confused with politics, but the recent antics of the Republican Party leave no alternative but to acknowledge that the Right’s attack on science must be addressed directly by the scientific community. 

Thu, 2008-12-11 07:13Chris Mooney
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Chuse Science

Late yesterday, reports started zinging around suggesting that the Obama transition team was ready to announce its energy and environment leaders.

By now it’s clear they are the following: former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Lisa Jackson will head up the Environmental Protection Agency; current Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory director Steven Chu will become Secretary of Energy; and Clinton administration EPA head Carol Browner will fill a newly created post, that of White House “climate czar.” In addition, Nancy Sutley, the current City of Los Angeles “deputy mayor” for Energy and Environment (and, of these four, the person with the thinnest Wikipedia profile), will come in as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Read more: Chuse Science
Thu, 2008-11-20 20:02Chris Mooney
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Revving the Climate Policy Engine

All the pieces seem to be falling into place this week.

Even as renewable energy stocks continued to plummet along with the rest of the market—the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Index, which seeks to represent the industry, has declined 37 percent this year—we’re finally seeing some striking signals that at last things will be different when it comes to climate and energy policy.

As recently as last week, my colleague Sheril Kirshenbaum wrote here that while we’re on the verge of a sea change, it was still unclear precisely how the incoming Obama administration would move on global warming.

Thu, 2008-04-17 14:15Chris Mooney
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Bush, Burning

Well, everyone is teeing off on Bush's latest global warming speech–and no wonder.

I mean, it's pretty staggering when you think about it: The campaigning George W. Bush in the year 2000 was more progressive on this increasingly pressing issue than the lame duck George W. Bush in 2008.

The major news from Bush's speech, policy-wise, is that he said we'll “stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025”–or, just under two decades from now. But everybody who knows anything about this issue knows that would amount to running a completely unacceptable risk.

Read more: Bush, Burning
Tue, 2008-04-01 23:08Chris Mooney
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Lieberman-Warner: A Political Card Game Worth Playing

Is anyone else as impatient as I am for this summer, when (supposedly) we will finally learn whether it's possible to pass greenhouse gas legislation in the current U.S. Congress, and get it signed by the president?

The good news is that amid calving ice shelves and new estimates from James Hansen suggesting that we've already passed the climatic tipping point, I'm sensing there may be an emerging new mood of unity out there on legislative action–at least if it passes a certain threshold.

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