On Sunday, the Weather Channel’s co-founder took his confounding message on the falsity of climate change to CNN, where he said he left Brian Stelter, the host of Reliable Sources, “wondering what had hit him.”
John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel in the 1980s before being forced out a year after it went to air, has splashed across headlines this past week for his climate denying antics. It started when Coleman — who does not have a meteorology degree, let alone a climatology degree — wrote an open letter to UCLA’s Hammer Museum expressing his disapproval on a climate change presentation hosted there. In the letter he states, “there is no significant man-made global warming at this time, there has been none in the past and there is no reason to fear any in the future.”
Coleman does not back up these claims, but in the ensuing week he has added significantly to them. In an email posted online, Coleman gave a synopsis of his appearance on Reliable Sources, which was filmed on Friday:
I set the record straight on the ice, the ocean, storms, heat waves, polar bears and all the rest. The host said I was clearly wrong on all those points. And I told him liberal CNN didn’t look at the facts, they clearly had drunk the Al Gore/Democrat Party lemonade.
What Coleman said on the show, and how Stelter responded, was somewhat less high drama. Stelter said only that he thought the data Coleman presented was “skewed,” and that he doesn’t think there are two equal sides to climate change — the scientific consensus is that it’s real. The host also added that the press has to be careful about giving false balance to the debate but that Coleman’s background merits discussion. He did not, however, bring up that Coleman has been connected to the Heartland Institute, a climate denying think tank funded by fossil-fuel interests, for years, and has spoken at their conferences.
When asked by Stelter to explain why 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing climate change, Coleman said the U.S. government only gives money to scientists who “support the global warming hypothesis.” He also said that “science is about facts, and if you get down to the hard, cold facts there’s no question about it — climate change is not happening.”
At one point, he also waved at the camera and said, “hello everybody, there is no global warming,” while smiling.
According to Coleman, he overheard Stelter talking to the David Kenny, the current CEO of The Weather Channel, before the show, at which time Stelter said that “they were doing this segment because Fox had the stupid audacity to put an old, anti-science denier on the air and they wanted to set the record straight and discredit him.” As he recounts it this really got under his skin, and when it was his turn he “jumped into straight, strong, nonstop talk that left the host wondering what had hit him,” and that he “yelled a bit” and pointed his finger at the camera quite a bit.
Two days after Coleman took his message to FOX news to let “everyone know there is no climate crisis” the Weather Channel released on official position on global warming on Wednesday. The statement says “the climate of the earth is indeed warming,” that the “impacts can already be seen,” and that “with the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increasing, a significant warming trend is expected to also continue.”
During his interview on Reliable Sources, Kenny told Stelter that the channel’s position on global warming is clear and scientifically based, and that he gets concerned “whenever the discussion of climate change veers from the science.”
Neither Coleman or Kenny are climate scientists. On Twitter, Stelter said he is yet to have an actual climate scientist on the show.
Meanwhile on Sunday, the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change released a Synthesis Report detailing the dangers of climate change. Hundreds of scientists spent the last five years preparing this final report, which says that carbon pollution must be slashed now or risk “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
None of the network Sunday shows mentioned this latest report or its stark findings.