Ken Harrison 6:30 p.m., July 29
TV Weather Forecasters Caught in Argument Over Climate Change
A debate is brewing over whether television weather forecasters are misleading their viewers about the true effects of climate change.
On one side, Forecast the Facts, a campaign led by Citizen Engagement Lab, which bills itself as “a non-profit, non-partisan organization that uses digital media and technology to amplify the voices of underrepresented constituencies,” with support from the League of Conservation Voters and climate advocacy group 350.org, claims that TV weathermen may be misguiding their viewers, many of whom are not heavily involved in the climate change debate.
They point to forecasters such as San Diego’s John Coleman on KUSI-TV in San Diego, identified as one of 55 outspoken meteorologists skeptical of climate change. “We're talking about the greatest hoax in history, let's understand this. There is no man made global warming or climate change of any significance. The whole thing is a phony call for quick action,” says Coleman in a YouTube video clip.
While the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes that global temperatures are indeed rising and reports a consensus that human actions are “very likely” the cause, a June 2011 study by George Mason University found that more than half of television weather reporters dispute this finding.
Those who support the views of the weather reporters, however, find support in an article recently published by The Daily Caller, with the headline “Global warming activists seek to purge ‘deniers’ among local weathermen.” The Caller, launched by conservative pundit Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, an advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney, accuses the Forecast the Facts campaign of conspiring “to recruit local weathermen to hop aboard the alarmism bandwagon and expose those who are not fully convinced that the world is facing man-made doom.”
“Our goal is nothing short of changing how the entire profession of meteorology tackles the issue of climate change,” says Forecast, as cited by the Caller for evidence. “We’ll empower everyday people to make sure meteorologists understand that their viewers are counting on them to get this story right, and that those who continue to shirk their professional responsibility will be held accountable,” Forecast continues.
One of the goals of Forecast the Facts is to push the American Meteorological Society to weigh in with an official statement on climate change. The group has previously issued a statement acknowledging a human role in climate change, but the group is being called on to update their opinion with stronger wording.