Climate

Weather Channel Rebukes Its Co-Founder On Climate Change

CREDIT: Screengrab

Fox News' Megyn Kelly talks to Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman, who does not actually have a degree in meteorology.

The Weather Channel has released an official position statement on global warming, just two days after the channel’s co-founder told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that climate change is based on “bad science” and does not exist.

In the statement, The Weather Channel said the planet is “indeed warming,” with temperatures increasing 1 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. The statement acknowledged that humans are helping make the planet warmer due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. It says the future effects of climate change will be more negative than positive.

“The bottom line is that with the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increasing, a significant warming trend is expected to also continue,” the Weather Channel’s statement reads.

Though a spokesperson for the Weather Channel did not return ThinkProgress’ request for comment as to why it decided to release a position statement, it is very possible that it had something to do with John Coleman, a Weather Channel co-founder who was reportedly “forced out” after a year on the job. The former television meteorologist has been making news for his views on climate change, which were broadcast on Fox News on Monday night, and in the U.K.’s Daily Express last week.

“I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid,” Coleman said. “There has been no warming for 18 years.”

Conservative publications ran with the statements, claiming a “top meteorologist” had debunked the science of global warming. Never mind that Coleman doesn’t even have a degree in meteorology, as he himself has admitted.

“Many people don’t accept my position that there is no significant man-made global warming because I am simply a Television Meteorologist without a Ph.D.,” he wrote on his blog is July. “I understand that.”

But even if he did have a meteorology degree, it wouldn’t really matter. Meteorologists are not climate scientists. As pointed out by Media Matters, climatologists’ models are different than meterologists’, and they ask different questions. Indeed, a handful of weather forecasters have been known to sometimes skew the issue, which then becomes false evidence for conservatives to back-up their climate denial.

Coleman is also associated with one of the least credible organizations out there on climate change. On the website of the Heartland Institute — a group that questions the existence of climate change, considers the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be “a joke,” and has equated people that believe in climate change with the Unabomber — Coleman is listed as an “expert,” one who believes climate science represents a “fraudulent activity based on bad science in a continuing quest for funding.” And Coleman has admitted that his views on climate change are based on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a non-peer reviewed document crafted by scientists who are reportedly each paid $300,000 by Heartland to argue against the scientific evidence in the IPCC report.

Contrary to Coleman’s statements and in line with the Weather Channel’s, the scientific evidence that human-caused greenhouse gas emission are the primary drivers of global warming is robust. And the planet is warming — NOAA reports that the last 12 months has been the warmest 12-month period among all months since records began in 1880, with 2014 probably on track to becoming the hottest year on record. Meanwhile, our oceans are rapidly heating, acidifying, and impacting the weather, and scientists believe global surface temperatures are set to rise rapidly in the face of those increasingly warm and acidic oceans.