DeSmogBlog: Are Conservatives Inherently More Biased than Liberals? The Scientific Debate Rages On

Republican Brain.jpg In the first round of critical reactions to my book The Republican Brain, there wasn’t much to impress. As I related at AlterNet, the general conservative response to the book was to misrepresent its arguments, rather than to engage them seriously. (The book predicted this, incidentally.) But now that some researchers have been able ...

DeSmogBlog: Conversion Fever! Why The Media Adores Former Climate Skeptics

Muller001.jpg If you’ve been following the science of global warming for over a decade—as I have—you might find the recent conversion of Berkeley physicist Richard Muller into a climate believer kind of underwhelming. That’s certainly the reaction of many longtime climate scientists, with whom Muller now, finally, agrees. “At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the ...

DeSmogBlog: If Conservatives Were Really “Conservative,” They Would Want to Do Something About Global Warming

kerry-emanuel.jpg Originally, when I asked MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel to be a guest on the Point of Inquiry podcast, my goal was simple. I wanted someone who could give an expert take on the relationship between climate change and all the freakish weather we’ve been seeing. As for having this individual also be a ...

DeSmogBlog: It’s the Weather, Stupid: Slowly Re-Awakening the Public About Climate Change

drought monitor.gif The Yale and George Mason Centers on Climate Change Communication, collaborators on the well-known “Six Americas” studies of how the public views global warming, are out with their latest report, the fifth in the series. And it hints at an underlying theme discernible in many of these surveys: On climate change, the U.S. ...

DeSmogBlog: After All That, The Himalayan Glaciers are Indeed Shrinking

800px-Everest_North_Face_toward_Base_Camp_Tibet_Luca_Galuzzi_2006_edit_1.jpg Remember the Himalayan glaciers? They were at the root of the most deserved black-eye to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change during the intensely politicized period of 2009-2010. In so-called “GlacierGate,” it was revealed that the IPCC had published, in one of its reports, a truly bogus assertion that the Himalayan glaciers would be ...

DeSmogBlog: Anthony Watts Is Right Because He’s Older Than Me

anthony-watts.jpg Last week, the leading climate skeptic blogger Anthony Watts criticized my writing based upon my age and looks—and other, er, observations: For the record, it is now official; Chris Mooney is a paid political hack disguising himself as a science writer. I’m going back to calling him a “kid blogger”, because no adult could have thought ...

DeSmogBlog: More Evidence That Republicans Are More Factually Challenged Than Democrats

pinocchio.jpg In writing The Republican Brain, I had a problem to solve. You see, it was one thing to cite all the psychological research suggesting that liberals and conservatives just think differently, because they have different personalities and cognitive styles. Sure, one could infer on this basis that certain conservatives, especially authoritarian conservatives, would simply ...

DeSmogBlog: The Politics of Ice and Fire

High_Park_Wildfire_Arapaho_and_Roosevelt_National_Forests_June_10,_2012.jpg In late June of 1988, just under 24 years ago, NASA’s James Hansen testified before the U.S. Congress about global warming. He noted that the Earth had been remarkably warm in the months leading up to that moment, and said he was 99 percent certain that the overall warming trend in the temperature data ...

DeSmogBlog: New Study: Climate Deniers Are Emoting–Especially the Conspiracy Theorists

Im-as-mad-as-Hell.jpg Anyone paying attention these last few years will have noticed that global warming denial simply isn’t a rational phenomenon. And it’s not just that if there were any reason involved, then denial it would have decreased in prevalence—rather than increased—as climate science grew more firm and certain over the past two decades. No: It’s much ...

DeSmogBlog: A Court’s Scientific Smackdown: The D.C. Circuit Trashes Science Deniers on Global Warming and the EPA

800px-Meade_and_Prettyman_Courthouse.jpg Tomorrow, we may see a court—the highest in the land—flout precedent for partisan ends in its ruling on President Obama’s signature health care law. However, in the meantime, we can rejoice that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit understands how to weigh complicated science-policy issues without partisanship or bias. The D.C. ...

DeSmogBlog: Climate Denial in Brazil: A Translation

ricardo augusto felico.jpg This is a translation of the May 2, 2012 “Programa do Jo” on Globo, a half hour interview with the climate skeptic geographer Ricardo Augusto Felicio on global warming. On YouTube alone, the interview has nearly 700,000 views; in Brazil, Globo is a dominant television network. Original clip here; for a critique of the ...

DeSmogBlog: Climate Denial Hits Brazil

ricardo augusto felico.jpg Last year, I wrote about how journalists in developing nations were doing a better job of covering climate change, largely because denial hadn’t really taken root in many of these countries. In particular, I singled out Brazil for praise: According to a study by James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the ...

DeSmogBlog: Rio-Inspired Optimism (If Not Optimism About Rio)

Rio de janeiro.jpg If the goal was to get the world focused on sustainable development, then this definitely counts as terrible timing. With global leaders pressured by the unending European debt saga—which most recently has engulfed Spain, the euro zone’s fourth largest economy—it’s not surprising that environmental concerns aren’t exactly at the front of their minds. ...

DeSmogBlog: The New ExxonMobil: Has the Tiger Changed Its Stripes?

Private-Empire-ExxonMobil-and-American-Power-by-Steve-Coll.cover_.jpg For a decade, now, I’ve been a reporter on climate science. And one of my earliest stories was a Mother Jones cover, exposing ExxonMobil’s funding of think tanks that support climate denialism. The piece was actually nominated for a National Magazine Award. It got around. With this article and others, I contributed a great deal ...

DeSmogBlog: Mann Handled: A Decade Ago, Conservatives Attacked a Scientist—And Created a Leader

hockeybookmann (1).jpg This is a review of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From the Front Lines, by Michael Mann. I first became familiar with the name Michael Mann in the year 2003. I was working on what would become my book The Republican War on Science, and had learned of two related events: ...

DeSmogBlog: How Do We Explain Scientifically Literate But Anti-Science Conservatives? Paging Drs. Dunning and Kruger

dunning_kruger_percieved_actual_graph.gif As regular readers of this blog know, I have spent a lot of time discussing what we call the “smart idiot” effect: Political conservatives who know more about science—or, have a higher level of education—tend to be more in denial of science or facts in contested areas, like global warming, than are less knowledgeable conservatives. ...

DeSmogBlog: The Polarizing Poles: Yet Another Study Shows That More Knowledgeable Conservatives Are *Worse* on Global Warming

Figure1b.png Bloggers and commentators have been talking a lot lately about a recent study, by Dan Kahan and colleagues in Nature Climate Change, capturing what I call the “smart idiot” effect: Conservatives who are more educated, or have a higher degree of scientific literacy, are more strongly in denial (or less worried) about global warming. In ...

DeSmogBlog: The Big Waffle? New Report Exposes Corporations That Try to Split the Difference on Global Warming

caterpillar-logo-2401.jpg We hear a lot about the Koch brothers. And before them, we heard a lot about ExxonMobil. In other words, we all know the names of the corporations, and the corporate leaders, who have sought to undermine public understanding about global warming—for instance, by supporting think tanks that misrepresent the science and, in some ...

DeSmogBlog: A Top Scientist Ignores the Science of Why People Deny Science

800px-Richard_Leakey.jpg In the world of evolutionary science, you don’t get much more prominent than Richard Leakey (pictured here). An anthropologist and conservationist, he’s the son of the archaeologist couple Louis and Mary Leakey, famed for their human origins research in Africa. Richard Leakey is credited with multiple major discoveries, including his team’s unearthing of Turkana Boy, ...

DeSmogBlog: The Meaning of Tropical Storm Alberto–and a 2012 Hurricane Rap Session

800px-Atlantic_hurricane_tracks.jpg Uh oh. Hurricane season has started early. On Saturday (the 19th), when Tropical Storm Alberto spun up off the Carolina coast, forecaster Brennan of the National Hurricane Center had this to say: ALBERTO IS EARLIEST–FORMING TROPICAL STORM IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN SINCE ANA IN 2003.  THIS IS ALSO THE FIRST TIME THAT A TROPICAL STORM ...

DeSmogBlog: Will Climate Denial, Like, Ever End?

The_Heartland_Institute_logo.png This week, as the Heartland Institute commences its annual conference, the organization is clearly back on its heels. Funders, experts, and even some staff are bailing, reports The Guardian. Apparently pushed into defensive mode by Peter Gleick and his attempt to expose its funding, the Institute struck back with its ill-advised “you guys are kinda ...

DeSmogBlog: The Weekly Standard on “Hillbilly” Climate Denial

WStandard.c1.v17-34.May21.Cover_.jpg In its latest cover story, the conservative Weekly Standard has decided to try to refute, outside of the scientific literature, the large body of research on the psychological underpinnings of political ideology (summarized in my book The Republican Brain). The critique, written by Andrew Ferguson, fails badly, in part because it is highly selective ...

DeSmogBlog: Us and Them: The Psychology Behind the Heartland Institute Billboards

Leo-blog–The-Heartland-I-007.jpg The Heartland Institute’s jaw-droppingly ill-advised, and now withdrawn billboard campaign—pictured here—has drawn a huge volume of denunciations in the last week. There’s not much more to say substantively about the campaign, or the fallout from it, which has included a number of Heartland funders heading for the hills. But it is fascinating to try to understand why ...

DeSmogBlog: A View From Nowhere? The Case Against Knee-Jerk Centrism When It Comes to Politics and Science

n_hayes_gopuniteso_120505.jpg Debate over The Republican Brain is mounting, as emotional (and highly extraverted?) conservatives fling meaningless attacks at the book—attacks so off target it’s doubtful in most cases that the critics read the book—but scientists admit that it represents the research on ideology accurately. That’s what just happened Saturday morning on MSNBC’s Up With Chris ...

DeSmogBlog: Conservatives, Seeking To Show They Are Open-Minded, Ignore Contrary Evidence (And No, This Is Not an Onion Article)

brainsWEB.jpg I was on the road last week, so I couldn’t properly respond to this Daily Caller item, which is really sort of marvelous. Basically, it’s an attempt to use a handful of survey data points to turn the whole Republican Brain line of analysis on its head, and argue that it’s really Republicans who ...