A Bloomberg headline on Wednesday read, “Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast.” Written by Eric Roston, a climate evangelist himself, the piece says to get ready for a new influx of climate change lectures every night during your local news.
Roston points to ABC15 News in Phoenix’s chief meteorologist Amber Sullins as one example of what to start expecting. She regularly touches on global warming in her forecasts, once saying, “We know climate change could affect everything about the way we live in the future, from agriculture and tourism to productivity and local business. But at what cost?”
It was a 35-second segment in a nightly newscast, a mundane moment preceding reports about three fallen firefighters in Washington state and a dangerous development for air travelers. But that climate-focused scene, and hundreds of others like it playing out at local news stations across the country, marks a major shift in the way Americans hear about climate change. The safe and familiar on-air meteorologist, with little notice by viewers, has become a public diplomat for global warming.
And emboldening these new climate preachers is the National Weather Service, described by Roston as: “A $7 billion weather-prediction industry, a largely invisible operation that stretches across some 350 public- and private-sector organizations in the U.S. At its center are the 5,000 employees of the National Weather Service, whose efforts at forecasting generate about $32 billion in annual benefits to American households, according to federal estimates.”
One of the last bastions keeping local news stations alive is the local weatherman and weatherwoman. It’s their segments that grab just about everyone’s attention. And climate alarmists sees those viewers as a prime target.
In Miami, at NBC 6, there is meteorologist John Morales who says global warming denial is “an American phenomenon” that is not seen in other parts of the world.
Roston admits that there are meteorologists who aren’t convinced that climate change is human caused, but believes a revolution is on the horizon:
There are about 500 broadcasters like Sullins and Morales, who each receive regular data dumps and ready-to-use graphics from Climate Matters, an organization whose mission is to turn TV meteorologists into local climate educators. The program was founded in 2010 by Climate Central, a research-and-journalism nonprofit, with help from George Mason University, the American Meteorological Society, and others. Newscasters who participate are sent possible topics for climate-related segments every week, with TV-ready data and graphics pegged to large-scale meteorological events, such as unusually high heat or precipitation, local trends, or seasonal themes.
As for Sullins, Roston says she wasn’t introduced to climate science until about four years ago when she attended a workshop for broadcasters and spoke with atmospheric scientists. That alone convinced her she needed to start injecting it into her forecasts. Roston adds that the materials from Climate Matters “made it easier to communicate complicated ideas” to viewers.
Sullins knows she loses half of her audience when she talks about global warming, but said, “You just talk about how they’re going to be affected as things change, and they’re much more open to listening.”
Here she is in action: