James Wanliss was born in King William’s Town, South Africa and grew up in Cape Town. He received undergraduate degrees in applied mathematics and physics from the University of Cape Town. In 1995 he received an M.S degree in geophysics from the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2000 he received the Ph.D in physics from the University of Alberta, in Canada.
His work has focused mainly on the causes and consequences of space weather, particularly the complex dynamics of magnetospheric substorms and space storms. He is the recipient of several awards and honors, notably an NSF CAREER award.
He has published over 45 papers in various areas of space plasma physics, mainly in the Journal of Geophysical Research and Geophysical Research Letters. He has also published in psychology and medical areas, and popular Christian journals.
His entry into the environmental debate began when he taught a course that examined scientifically several prominent claims of the green movement that proved to be either false or highly exaggerated. The religious terminology employed by environmentalists made it plain that the green movement is offered as an alternative to Christian faith, one that people interested in truth need to learn to combat.