Chris Mooney

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Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, podcaster, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication. He is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science and The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.

Chris blogs for “Science Progress,” a website of the Center for American Progress. He is a host of the Point of Inquiry podcast and was recently seen on BBC 2 guest hosting a segment of “The Culture Show.”

In the past, Chris has also been visiting associate in the Center for Collaborative History at Princeton University, a 2009-2010 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and a Templeton-Cambridge Fellow in Science and Religion. He is also a contributing editor to Science Progress and a senior correspondent for The American Prospect magazine.

Chris has been featured regularly by the national media, having appeared on The Daily Show With Jon StewartThe Colbert ReportMSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and “The Last Word,” CSPAN’s Book TV, and NPR’s Fresh Air With Terry Gross and Science Friday (here and here), among many other television and radio programs.

Among other accolades, in 2005 Chris was named one of Wired magazine’s ten “sexiest geeks.” In addition, The Republican War on Science was named a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize in the category of “Science and Technology,” and Chris’s Mother Jones feature story about ExxonMobil, conservative think tanks, and climate change was nominated for a National Magazine Award in the “public interest” category (as part of a cover package on global warming).

Chris’s 2005 article for Seed magazine on the Dover evolution trial was included in the volume Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006. In 2006, Chris won the “Preserving Core Values in Science” award from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. His 2009 article for The Nation, “Unpopular Science” (co-authored with Sheril Kirshenbaum) was included in Best American Science Writing 2010.

Chris was born in Mesa, Arizona, and grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana; he graduated from Yale University in 1999, where he wrote a column for the Yale Daily News. Before becoming a freelance writer, Chris worked for two years at The American Prospect as a writing fellow, then staff writer, then online editor (where he helped to create the popular blog Tapped).

Chris has contributed to a wide variety of other publications in recent years, including Wired, ScienceHarper’sSeedNew ScientistSlateSalonMother JonesLegal AffairsReasonThe American ScholarThe New RepublicThe Washington MonthlyColumbia Journalism Review,The Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. In addition, Chris’s blog, “The Intersection,” was a recipient of Scientific American’s 2005 Science and Technology web award, which noted that “science is lucky to have such a staunch ally in acclaimed journalist Chris Mooney.”

Chris speaks regularly at academic meetings, bookstores, university campuses, and other events. He has appeared at distinguished universities including the Harvard Medical School, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Rockefeller University, and Duke University Medical Center; at major venues such as the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco and Town Hall Seattle; and at bookstores across the country, ranging from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida to Powell’s in Portland, Oregon. In 2006, he was the keynote speaker for the 43rd Annual Dinner of Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties and the Edward Lamb Peace Lecturer at Bowling Green State University. In 2007, he was the opening plenary speaker at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne, Australia.

Chris has been profiled by The Toronto Star and The Seattle Times, and interviewed by many outlets including Grist and Mother Jones.

Global Warming and the Posture of Skepticism

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it. There was my latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine – the “Magazine for Science and Reason” –and on the cover were the words:

“Let's Cool It on Global Warming–Bjorn Lomborg.”

I was stunned.

I started my professional career working for Skeptical Inquirer. My last book was excerpted there, and I'm currently a contributing editor.

The Lieberman-Warner Conundrum

Recently, a debate among environmental advocates over global warming strategy has spilled out into the public arena, apparently triggered by signals from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, that she will try to move a bill to address global warming this year.

(For more details, see this recent story in the LA Times.)

The bill in question, the bipartisan Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, would ratchet down U.S. emissions by something on the order of 70 percent by the year 2050.

Should We Still Trust John McCain on Global Warming?

In environmental circles, there's definitely some discomfort with leading GOP contender John McCain on the subject of global warming.

Granted, we all know McCain has a strong history on the issue.

He was co-sponsor of the 2003 McCain-Lieberman legislation, a failed attempt to achieve a cap on U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. And there's no doubt that McCain is much more serious about taking mandatory action than other Republican hopefuls, like Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney–who has been bashing the Arizona senator repeatedly for being too strong on the climate issue.

Global Warming Has Finally Come Up in Michigan… but don't get too excited yet

Whichever way the Michigan Republican primary goes–and we'll know soon enough–something very noteworthy has occurred on the climate and energy front.

Due to this particular dynamics of this race, which has been set in the backyard of the ailing American auto industry just after the U.S. Congress voted to increase corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the two frontrunners John McCain and Mitt Romney have been trading multiple barbs over climate and energy policy.

Presidential Candidates Not Going Far Enough on Climate?

You may have noticed some tension here at DeSmogBlog lately over the Obama affair.

I don't write to criticize, but because what has happened seems indicative of a broader phenomenon when it comes to global warming and the campaign trail, I'd like to enlarge the issue and provide my own perspective, beyond what I've already done.


The Waxman Cometh

It has been a long time coming–and its arrival leaves me feeling almost like I'm witnessing the end of an era.

Yesterday Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight, published a long awaited report (PDF), 16 months in the making, that probably represents the most comprehensive investigation yet of how the Bush administration has interfered with and suppression the communication of information about the science of climate change.

And the conclusion is stark: “The Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.”

James Hansen and the Holocaust Frame: not even heroes are perfect

Just in case you were wondering, the new Beowulf movie is pretty awful–but there's at least one thing interesting about it. It turns a heroic character without any apparent flaws (the original Beowulf) into a guy that, well, has loads of them. In so doing, it modernizes the story (and, as it happens, trashes the original poem).

Weirdly, I thought of Beowulf when I read the latest about NASA's James Hansen, our most famous climate scientist, who used an unfortunate Holocaust-related analogy to discuss the impact of global warming on endangered species in recent testimony in his home state, Iowa.

Bangladesh: Devastating Present, Worse Future?

It is certainly only coincidence that two recent events–the deadly Category 4 landfall of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh and the release of the UN IPCC's 2007 synthesis report–have so closely coincided.

But if we take them together–the story of pain and grief in a low-lying region on the one hand; the careful words of scientists on the other–it seems impossible not to attempt a still grander synthesis.

All Global Warming is Local - The Politics and Science of Regional Climate Impacts

A key question is, how can we best champion nature and the environment when both are changing due to global warming, and when we lack—or, worse, when our government denies us—adequate information about the nature of those changes and how to cope with them?

How do we prepare ourselves for a changing climate, community by community, region by region? How should San Diegans get ready for global warming, and how does that differ from how Floridians or Kansans should respond?

The Mike Tidwell Dilemma, Part II

In my DeSmogBlog post last week, I provided a detailed critique of Maryland-based climate activist Mike Tidwell's 2006 book The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities. Tidwell's isn't a particularly new work, but I was inspired to write about it after a visit to the University of Maryland-College Park, where the book has been assigned to the entire freshman class (some 4,000 students).

Given this wide dissemination of Tidwell's perspective to such a large slice of the student body, I thought a little balance might be called for.

But you might ask—why make such a fuss about Tidwell's inaccuracy and incautious treatment of scientific information, given that at least his heart is in the right place? Wouldn't my energies be better spent slamming, say, Michael Crichton?

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