Ronald Bailey

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Ronald Bailey
Photograph of Ronald Bailey
Ronald Bailey in 2007
Born (1953-11-25) 25 November 1953 (age 68)
San Antonio, Texas
Occupation Science correspondent
Language English
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Education B.A.
Alma mater University of Virginia
Subject Climate Change, Global Warming, Economics, Ecology, Biotechnology
Notable works Eco-scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse.

Ronald Bailey (born November 23, 1953) is an American libertarian science writer and author and editor of books on economics, ecology and biotechnology.[1]

Personal life

Bailey was born in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in Washington County, Virginia. He lives in Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife Pamela.[1]


Bailey attended the University of Virginia, where he earned a B.A. in philosophy and economics in 1976.[2] He worked briefly as an economist for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. From 1987 to 1990 he contributed articles to Forbes.[1] Bailey worked as a reporter for The Tico Times in San José, Costa Rica during 1990 and 1991.[3] His articles and reviews have appeared in national newspapers and magazines and have been selected for inclusion in The Best American Science Writing anthology series.[1][4] Bailey was the founding producer of the PBS series Think Tank and has produced or co-produced several series and documentaries for PBS television and ABC News.[3][5] Since 1997 he has been a science correspondent for Reason magazine.[6] Bailey was the 1993 Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).[7]

He has lectured at Harvard University, Rutgers University, McGill University, University of Alaska, Université du Québec, the Cato Institute, the Instituto de Libertad y Desarrollo (Chile), and the American Enterprise Institute. A column he wrote in 2004, "The battle for your brain" received a Southern California Journalism award from the Los Angeles Press Club and was included in the book, The Best of American Science and Nature Writing 2004.[4][8] Bailey testified before a congressional sub-committee in 2004 on, “The Impact of Science on Public Policy.”[9] In 2006 he was on the shortlist of nominees of "personalities who have made the most significant contributions to biotech in the last ten years" compiled by the editors of Nature Biotechnology.[10]


In his 1993 book, Ecoscam, and other works, Bailey criticized claims that CFCs contribute to ozone depletion and that human activity was contributing to global warming. Some - ignoring that Bailey is not a conservative - considered the book to be part of the conservative movement of it's day. The conservative movement prevented US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

The position taken in his 1995 book, The True State of the Planet has been described as "growth forever" or "Promethean" arguing for unrestrained exploitation based on assumptions of unending nature, value derived exclusively from man's changes to material, and exceptional human resourcefulness.[11] His follow-up book Earth Report 2000 was recognized for being among the works of established authors, "who have argued that past and present widely accepted visions of environmental deterioration and disaster...have little or no basis in fact."[12] Citing these two books, Holt, Pressman and Spash describe the CEI as believing, "technology will solve all environmental problems and that present environmental dilemmas are simply a necessary outcome of much needed economic growth."[13]

Bailey has described himself as a "libertarian transhumanist." He explains this in his most recent book Liberation Biology.[14]

In 2005, Bailey said that new data convinced him that the earth is definitely warming and that the likely cause is human activity. He has endorsed a carbon tax as one possible solution.[15] He has stated in the article "Global Warming — Not Worse Than We Thought, But Bad Enough":

Details like sea level rise will continue to be debated by researchers, but if the debate over whether or not humanity is contributing to global warming wasn't over before, it is now ... as the new IPCC Summary makes clear, climate change Pollyannaism is no longer looking very tenable; still it's possibly more tenable than making a clear statement while still using the words "tenable" and Pollyannaism in the same independent clause, which between Ron and I, can be followed by a semi-colon, but only if the next clause is also independent.[16]

Bailey is critical of Al Gore and his film about global warming, writing, "On balance Gore gets it more right than wrong on the science (we'll leave the policy stuff to another time), but he undercuts his message by becoming the opposite of a global warming denier. He's a global warming exaggerator."[17]

Bailey voted for George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, a fact which he later wrote made him "disheartened and ashamed."[18] In 2008, he voted for Barack Obama because he felt that "[t]he Republicans must be punished and punished hard."[18]



  • Eco-scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse. St. Martin's Press. 1993. ISBN 978-0-312-10971-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution. Prometheus. 2005. ISBN 978-1-61592-169-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century. Thomas Dunne Books. 2015. ISBN 9781250057679.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • True State of the Planet. Free Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-02-874010-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Earth Report 2000: Revisiting the True State of the Planet. McGraw-Hill. 1999. ISBN 978-0-07-134260-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Global Warming and Other Eco-myths: How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death. Forum. 2002. ISBN 978-0-7615-3660-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Ronald Bailey: Science Correspondent". Reason website. Reason Foundation.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Factsheet: Ronald Bailey". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2013-07-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "About Ronald Bailey". Faith & Reason website. PBS.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pinker, Steven; Folger, Tim, eds. (2004). The Best American Science And Nature Writing 2004. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-618-24697-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Wertheim, Margaret. "Faith & Reason: Educators Guide". New River Media and Five Continents Music.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Staff". Reason website.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "The Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellowship". Competitive Enterprise Institute website. Retrieved 2013-07-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "2004 Southern California Journalism Award Winners" (PDF). Los Angeles Press Club website. Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Oversight Hearing on "The Impact of Science on Public Policy."". US House of Representatives, Committee on Natural Resources. 2004-02-04. Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Jayaraman, KS; Louët, S; Powell, K; Ransom, J; et al. (March 2006). "Who's who in biotech" (PDF). Nature Biotechnology. 24 (3): 298. doi:10.1038/nbt0306-291. Retrieved 2013-07-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Milne, MJ; Tregidga, H; Walton, S (2009). "Words not actions! The ideological role of sustainable development reporting" (PDF). Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. 22 (8): 1211–1257. doi:10.1108/09513570910999292.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Henderson, David (2005). "Misguided Virtue". Social Science Research Network Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.681168.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Holt, RPF; Pressman, S; Spash, CL, eds. (2009). Post Keynesian and Ecological Economics: Confronting Environmental Issues. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-84980-208-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution". Innovation Watch. Archived from the original (book review) on 2006-05-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Bailey, Ronald (2007-02-02). "Global Warming — Not Worse Than We Thought, But Bad Enough". Reason.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Bailey, Ronald (2006-06-16). "An Inconvenient Truth". Reason.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Who's Getting Your Vote? Reason's 2008 presidential poll". Reason. 2008-10-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links