Battle of the Weatherpeople

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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Weathering the Next 108-Year Storm

|
Deron Lovaas is the Federal Transportation Policy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. This article is cross-posted from his blog on Switchboard. The Boy Scout motto (“Be prepared”) should guide state transportation departments (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and transit agencies as we recover from the destruction Hurricane Sandy wreaked. This superstorm was deemed historic for transit […]

Stark Divisions Between Dems and GOP on Climate Impacts of Transportation

|
How polarized are the two political parties on key questions about transportation policy and climate change? As you can imagine, the answer is “very.” The senior Democrat and Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — California’s Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe, respectively — each wrote an opinion this week for the Eno Center for […]

Florida Guv, a Fair-Weather Friend of Rail, Backs Out of Climate Fight

|
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), facing a challenge from the right as he stumps for a U.S. Senate seat, is shedding his already shaky environmental credibility as fast as he can. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) (Photo: Sun-Sentinel) Crist’s administration is scrapping efforts to combat climate change and won’t be joining a regional carbon cap-and-trade […]

EPA Chief Urges a More Urban Environmentalism to Fight Climate Change

|
With Congress returning to work next week after a month away from Washington, a national dialogue long dominated by health care is about to open to the long-awaited Senate debate on climate change. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson (Photo: Legal Planet) But industry-funded efforts to derail legislative action are already receiving undeservedly credible coverage in the […]

Senate Climate Bill Delayed Yet Again As Obama Takes Nobel

|
As my colleague Ryan wrote earlier, the congressional climate change bill no represents the most meaningful path for urbanists, and advocates for clean transportation in general, to make their voices heard in the national debate. President Obama, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize today. (Photo: AP) So it bears repeating that the bill is losing momentum, […]