Chris Mooney

Primary tabs

Chris Mooney's picture

Personal Information

Twitter URL
http://twitter.com/ChrisMooney_
Profile Info

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.

What’s Hot in Climate Science Today? Communicating

San Francisco–Here at the 19,200 scientist American Geophysical Union fall meeting, you can sample any aspect of Earth and planetary science that you like. The proceedings provide, among other things, a dream roster for Hollywood disaster movies in the making. You’ve got volcano experts, earthquake experts, hurricane experts, and on and on.

But you also have a new and different focus: Scientists out here, especially climate scientists but also those who study natural hazards and many other fields, are increasingly dedicated to figuring out how to reach non-scientists with what they know. They’ve learned the hard way, through events like “ClimateGate,” that it doesn’t just happen automatically. If anything, it un-happens.

Still Awaiting Our Global Warming "Scopes Trial"

supreme court

Republicans in the U.S. Congress are gearing up to block any major move by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases–even though the Supreme Court ordered the agency to do so back in 2007. And even though the Congress itself is clearly not going to do anything else to address the problem in the next two years.

But yesterday we learned there’s a paradox at the heart of this obstructionist strategy. If the EPA doesn’t act or is hamstrung–and if Congress continues to dawdle–then guess what? A new global warming case just taken up by the Supreme Court may therefore stand a better chance of surviving the highest level of review—thus providing another possible way of restricting and punishing the polluters who are contributing to climate change.

How Partisan is Climate Denial?

It was the chief environmental narrative of the 2010 midterm elections. The field of Republican Senate and House challengers, charged bloggers, were a bunch of “climate zombies.” Tea Party backed insurgents were knocking off GOP moderates who took climate science seriously—like Delaware’s Mike Castle—and it was becoming harder and harder to find a good Republican who did accept the scientific consensus on climate change.

Then, when Republicans swept into the House of Representatives, fears about the party’s denialist tendencies compounded further. There was word of “ClimateGate” hearings, aimed at prying loose additional emails and documents from mainstream global warming researchers. Whether or not such hearings actually take place, a vision of today’s U.S. Republican Party as monolithically in denial about what we’ve been doing to the planet has clearly taken root.

It was all, apparently, more than the stalwart Republican moderate Sherwood (“Sherry”) Boehlert could take.

Will the New Congress Subpoena Climate Scientists?

Originally posted at DiscoverMagazine.com.
Multiple investigations over the last year have failed to uncover any serious wrongdoing in the year old “ClimateGate” fiasco over climate researchers’ pilfered emails. Substantively, the matter is dead. But politically is quite another matter—it remains to be seen how long “ClimateGate” can walk the earth as a zombie.

There have already been attempts to reawaken the corpse. Most prominently, Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli launched a harassing investigation of famed climate researcher Michael Mann’s career at the University of Virginia, demanding a wide range of emails and documents. And since the November 2 elections, there have been concerns that the new Republican Congress may join in the rite. Several top House Republicans have indicated that they may want to hold “Climategate” hearings (although more recently, there has been some apparent backing away from this idea).

The question now becomes whether incoming Republicans will follow through on such plans—or if it’s all just a head feint. If they’re serious, they can expect a powerful response from scientists, much like the strong mobilization against Cuccinelli organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Association of University Professors, and many others.

Where Is Barack Obama's Global Warming Adaptation Plan?

I know, I know: If you support “adaptation” in the global warming debate, you run the risk of being mistaken for someone who opposes “mitigation.” But I’m not one of those adaptation-only Bjorn Lomborg types.

I support both capping emissions, and also getting ready for climate change, because I believe the science is clear: We have to do something, fast, to prevent the worst outcomes; but we’re already so far down the global warming path that there will be many changes we can no longer stop, and must live with - and so must prepare for.

But my question is, where is Barack Obama on all of this?

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.

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.

The [Climate Policy] Change We Need

by Sheril Kirshenbaum

It's not clear how the Obama administration will move on climate change, but they must focus on a single defining message: advancing national economic interests.

Just a week ago, Barack Obama addressed the nation that had just elected him the 44th President of the United States. When he named America’s greatest challenges, “a planet in peril” was a centerpiece. After the Bush administration’s eight-year war on our air, oceans, and wildlife, concerned citizens everywhere had justified reason to celebrate, feeling that they too had possibly won a great victory that night.

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.

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.

Pages