Climate

Washington Post Gets (More) Serious About Climate Change, Hires Chris Mooney To Blog

CREDIT: AP

In August, the Washington Post seemed to finally turn a corner on human-caused climate change, launching a series of editorials demanding a change in both dialogue and action.

On Friday, the Post took a major step toward improving its woefully inadequate climate coverage. Greg Schneider, the paper’s national economy and business editor, and David Cho, deputy business editor, announced:

We’re thrilled to announce that Chris Mooney is joining The Post to create a new blog about the environment….

He will start as part of Wonkblog, and build toward the future rollout of a standalone blog that will pull together the excellent work of The Post’s all-star roster of energy and environment writers.

Mooney is probably best known for his best-selling 2005 book, “The Republican War on Science.” He has, however, written 3 other excellent books, dozens of articles for major publications, and of course countless blog posts over the past decade, including ones for the American Progress site, Science Progress.

Chris was one of my inspirations for becoming a blogger, and I’ve known him for years. You can even catch a interview of me he did for his terrific podcast. He’s a terrific choice for the Washington Post, which points out:

Chris is one of the most distinctive, provocative voices writing about environmental issues today, arguing that people’s preconceptions — political, religious, cultural — color the way they view science. More fundamentally, Chris has built a loyal audience through solid reporting and vivid, authoritative writing. His approach is to look for the compelling ideas behind topics that can otherwise become arcane, leading him to write thoughtful pieces on such subjects as how melting ice caps could create a permanent Superstorm Sandy and how conservative Christians can convince skeptics about climate change.

In my August piece, “6 Ways The Washington Post Could Show It’s Serious About Climate Change,” I called on the Post to “Bring on a full-time science blogger.” I noted that the paper dropped star blogger Ezra Klein, one of their only consistent sources of science-based coverage of climate change. Worse, at the same time they glommed onto the libertarian, confusionist website, The Volokh Conspiracy — which has “promoted conspiracy theories about anthropogenic climate change and the scientists who study it” — and gave them “full editorial control.”

I point that out now to underscore this message to the editors at the Washington Post: You don’t have to “balance” Mooney’s hiring by bringing on a climate science denier — at least not until you get maybe 30 more who, like Chris, understand the science. That’s assuming you want a “Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate” on your pages.

Bottom Line: Kudos to the Washington Post. One down, five more to go:

1. Fact-check op-eds on climate
2. Stop printing comments and letters from climate science deniers
3. End false balance
4. Restore coverage on climate change
5. Put Juliet Eilperin (and/or another top climate reporter) back on the climate beat