Do you get your climate science from your weatherman? If so, you might be the dupe of an ongoing anti-science campaign, played out by some of national television’s most recognizable TV weathercasters – more than half of whom are climate change deniers.
Forecast the Facts Challenges American Meteorological Society to Hold Weathercasters Accountable for Climate Denial
It might not be immediately apparent that America’s meteorologists are a crucial lynchpin in the dissemination of climate science. But according to ThinkProgress, TV weather reporters come only second to scientists in terms of public credibility. And weather reporting is emerging as an ideal platform for ideologically-driven science denial.
Forecast the Facts, lead by 350.org, the League of Conservation Voters, and the new Citizen Engagement Lab, is tracking anti-science ideologues – or ‘zombie weathermen’ – as part of a new campaign to expose ‘meteorologists blowing hot air.’ Forecast the Facts reveals many of these trusted weather reporters are little more than right-wing spokesmen, feeding the American public shoddy climate science denial.
As part of the campaign, Forecast asked the AMS to beef up their climate change statement – a position statement up for review on February 1, 2012. America’s weather reporters rely on AMS information more than any other source, including climate researchers, making the institution’s stance particularly relevant to the meteorological body at large. But the AMS has so far put off updating their statement.
According to a Forecast press release, circulated today, Forecast’s request for an undiluted statement on climate change has created significant upheaval within the AMS, causing some members of the drafting committee to threaten resignation.
According to Daniel Souweine, director of Forecast the Facts, what the AMS is calling a ‘routine delay’ is really the sign of massive internal upheaval.
The 14,000 members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) are considered respected representatives of the scientific community. Statements issued from the AMS are “intended to provide trustworthy, objective and scientifically up-to-date explanation of scientific issues of concern to the public at large.”
The issue of climate change denial on national television gained major attention in 2010 after the release of a George Mason University report that found 63% of TV meteorologists claimed climate change was naturally occurring, and an additional 27% considered the scientific consensus on global warming a scam.
The contingent of science-denying weathercasters has not responded well to Forecast’s challenge to the AMS. ThinkProgress Green documents the weathercaster’s backlash against the campaign, which has been accused of ‘blacklisting’ weather reporters in a ‘gestapo’ fashion.
And the campaign has caught the ire of prominent science deniers like Anthony Watts and Michael Lewis.
The AMS’s delay in responding to Forecast the Fact’s challenge doesn’t bode well for the integrity of the scientific body. In fact, the postponement is already in contravention of the society’s internal guidelines, creating delays that run beyond the strict time limit in place to guide the statement’s drafting committee.
It remains to be seen if the AMS will rise up and take ownership of its role in climate change denial across the country. Will the AMS demand our weathercasters forecast the facts?