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Climate Change

Battle of the Weatherpeople

12:30 PM EST on January 19, 2007

It's not just the weather that's in an uproar these days, it's the weatherpeople, too. After Heidi Cullen, host of the Weather Channel program "The Climate Code," wrote on her blog that she thought forecasters who deny manmade climate change were uneducated on the issue and should perhaps have their American Meteorological Society credentials revoked, she came under attack for smothering scientific debate, both on her own blog and elsewhere. On the website of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Marc Morano wrote:

Why do climate alarmists feel the need to resort to such low brow tactics when they have a compliant media willing to repeat their every assertion without question....The alarmists also enjoy a huge financial advantage over the skeptics with numerous foundations funding climate research, University research money and the United Nations endless promotion of the cause....The alarmists have all of these advantages, yet they still feel the need to resort to desperation tactics to silence the skeptics. Could it be that the alarmists realize that the American public is increasingly rejecting their proposition that the family SUV is destroying the earth and rejecting their shrill calls for "action" to combat their computer model predictions of a "climate emergency?"

Cullen posted what reads like a very tightly policed response to her critics a couple of days ago:

I've read all your comments saying I want to silence meteorologists who are skeptical of the science of global warming. That is not true. The point of my post was never to stifle discussion. It was to raise it to a level that doesn't confuse science and politics. Freedom of scientific expression is essential.

Many of you have accused me and The Weather Channel of taking a political position on global warming. That is not our intention.

Our goal at The Weather Channel has always been to keep people out of harm's way. Whether it's a landfalling hurricane or global warming.

Consistent with this goal, on this site and on The Climate Code we aim to help our viewers better understand why scientists are so concerned about climate change, and then to decide for themselves what they want to do about it.

But as the Independent of London points out, the debate between Cullen and her detractors may seem irrelevant to a public confronted with extreme weather on every front, from hurricane-force winds in Eastern Europe to January blossoms in Brooklyn.

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