May 7th, 2014
11:17 AM ET
5 months ago

On climate change forecast, White House opts for meteorologists

Washington (CNN) - When it came to spreading the word about the government's alarming new report on climate change, senior advisers to President Obama thought who better to talk about extreme weather forecasts than meteorologists.

A senior administration official said the decision to bring in well-known weather forecasters from both national broadcast networks and local television stations for a series of interviews in the White House Rose Garden with the President was designed to avoid a debate over whether climate change is actually happening. Instead, the intended focus was to help communities prepare for the National Climate Assessment's predictions of droughts, heat waves, and severe storms that are on the way.

Meteorologists and their loyal viewers, the official said, were the perfect audience for that message.

"This isn’t something in the distant future. Climate change is already affecting us now. If you live along a coast, you’re more likely to face flooding. If you live in the West, you’re more likely to face drought because of climate change," Obama told South Carolina meteorologist Jim Gandy.

The senior administration official pointed to Gandy as an example of a meteorologist who now does regular reports on climate change for WLTX-TV, the CBS affiliate in the South Carolina capital of Columbia.

Last March, the Columbia Journalism Review featured a story on Gandy, describing the weather man as willing to take on the subject of global warming in a red state where there are plenty of climate change skeptics.

“I do accept the science that increasing [carbon dioxide] significantly leads to a warming of the earth,” he told CJR. “We know that the increase in CO2 is largely the result of burning fossil fuels, which is a human activity. I am not afraid to say that it is happening because the science is crystal clear on this point.”

The "Weather from the White House" interviews, as the interviews were dubbed on the President's schedule, represent the latest example of senior administration officials opting to bypass the traditional press corps covering Obama to deliver its message. White House officials have repeatedly defended the approach as part of a strategy to reach Americans "where they live."

In March, Obama sat down for a mock interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis for a discussion aimed at generating interest among young Americans in the Affordable Care Act.

The "Between Two Ferns" segment on the web site, "Funny or Die," was deemed an instant success by the White House after it resulted in droves of new visitors to HealthCare.gov.

But the White House’s preference for meteorologists to drive a news cycle on climate change is not new.

As a senior administration official who served in the Clinton administration pointed out, dozens of meteorologists participated in an event on global warming at the White House in 1997.

The official said it was a good model. So why not use it again, Obama's advisers thought.


Filed under: climate change • President Obama • White House
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Tom l

    Right. Because the govt has given us so many reasons to trust them. Are you saying that these scientists aren't motivated by the funding?

    May 7, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Donna

    Silence DoGood
    @Donna
    OK, so pull the guys in that can't tell us what the weather will be 3 days from now in order to tell us about what will happen much further out. Yes, very, very credible! Please remember, if you like your weather you can keep your weather!!!
    ---–
    If you don't think the scientists in Meteorology can tell us about the weather and climate, what branch of "science" are all the nay-sayers a part of that you are listening too? Surely this is a new branch of science like creationism I suppose.
    -–

    So if these scientists as you call them cannot predict the weather three days from now with no degree of certainty, what makes you think their predictions are any more accurate for predictions a month or a year or a decade out?

    Their predictions are based on models, models are based on assumptions and factors which we know little or nothing about when it comes to weather prediction. If they knew them, these models would be about to predict the short term weather with some level of accuracy.

    Meteorologists are one step about gypsy fortune tellers and the looney left wants to sell them as rocket scientists and wreck our entire way of living and economy based on this rubbish "science", which has alreayd been proven to be a fraud.

    May 7, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    We always look back on Stupid People in History. Those who claimed human bodies could not tolerate speeds over 30 mph. Those who claimed human flight was a sin. Those who claimed Medical Theory was folly. In 2014, Don't Be One of Those Stupid People.

    May 7, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. TONE

    Tom l

    Right. Because the govt has given us so many reasons to trust them. Are you saying that these scientists aren't motivated by the funding?

    The problem with right wingers( global warming deniers) when disaster hit they would turn right around and blame the government for not giving them advance warning, you mark my words here today 5/7/14, and gullibles will believe that.

    May 7, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Tom l

    Right. Because the govt has given us so many reasons to trust them. Are you saying that these scientists aren't motivated by the funding?
    -------------------------–
    How many reasons have Republicans given us reason to trust them? In 2010, they campaigned on jobs to get themselves elected, but immediately began an agenda of radical right wing social engineering, as Newt called.

    May 7, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Tony

    Tom I, scientists don't publish papers for the government. Their papers are subject to peer review before publication. The vast majority of climate scientists believe in climate change.

    May 7, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. rs

    Tom l

    Right. Because the govt has given us so many reasons to trust them. Are you saying that these scientists aren't motivated by the funding?
    _________________________________________
    Does your employer affect your opinion because they pay you? Really, Tom? More of your anti-government silliness?

    May 7, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Obama unconstitutionally changed the law to delay the parts that will affect hundreds of millions of people and all businesses."

    Heckler v. Chaney. He's done nothing unconstitutional.

    May 7, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "So please, spare us your lies about working."

    #8Million

    Now, be a good boy and eat your crow.

    May 7, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. TONE

    Tommy G

    The obvious solution for this problem is to outlaw all fossil fuel usage, mandate solar panels and windmills for everybody and raise taxes on the 1% to 100%. Trust Obama and the Democrats they know what they are doing, just like knew what they were doing with Obamacare.

    You are defending your rich masters meanwhile they are spending millions to buy arc like noah so that they can be safe from the disasters that climate change brings. Can you buy an arc tommy boy.

    May 7, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. CALIFORNIA

    I have a hockey stick chart that proves global warming? Climate Change? Global Cooling?

    May 7, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    Now they're telling us that all of the pollution that we put into the air and water is having a negative effect on this climate thing of theirs all across the world. I say, "Bah, Humbug." They're all wrong. The Earth is flat, which means that there is no such thing as a climate. "Bah, Humbug."
    -------------------------------------------------
    You forgot to add that some of The GOPer Ignorati believe that global warming is a pseudo-religion,and that there is nothing humanitarian about informing the world of it's impact. It is all a money-making scheme with Al Gore as Chief Pastor.
    Well, at least that's what our resident Nurse Ratched believes.

    May 7, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Chicken Little

    Please calm down people. The sky is not falling and the weather is not going to destroy civilization and the planet. What we have here is a ramping up of the latest leftist scam to bilk the people out of more of their money and line the pockets of people like Al Gore. Can you say Cap & Trade? Yes, I knew you could.

    May 7, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Huh?

    @rs
    The opinion represented in the story above represents the decided knowledge of 97% of the scientists in the field, based upon more than 100 years of collected data.
    ----
    Let me give you something to think about. Weather records in the United States have been collected over the last 100 years. Many of these weather reporting sites were originally in areas with little or no urban development, i.e., no concrete/asphalt paving or masonry buildings. We now know that these intensively developed urban areas are heat islands, the temperatures recorded there are warmer than a nearby rural location. My point is, I have never seen an adjustment in long term temperature records to compensate for urban/heat island intrusion for a weather reporting station. Think about temperatures recorded in Central Park in New York City now versus 100 years ago.

    May 7, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Donna

    Tony
    Tom I, scientists don't publish papers for the government. Their papers are subject to peer review before publication. The vast majority of climate scientists believe in climate change.
    ---

    Believe??? So we are being asked to wreck our economy for the latest far left RELIGION, climate change?!!
    NO THANKS! Take your insane weather religion someplace else.

    May 7, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    @Tony
    Tom I, scientists don't publish papers for the government. Their papers are subject to peer review before publication. The vast majority of climate scientists believe in climate change.
    --------–
    Tony, shhhh! The Conspiracy Theory states that the government makes up these reports or has scientists chained in the basement. Don't ruin the fun and fear with truth! Many of these nay-sayers are the same ones taking Evolution of the schools so what do you expect?

    May 7, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    TONE

    The problem with right wingers( global warming deniers) when disaster hit they would turn right around and blame the government for not giving them advance warning, you mark my words here today 5/7/14, and gullibles will believe that.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Or they blame the "librulz". The storm that washed Pensacola into the bay last week was "god's wrath" for the "librulz evil ways".

    May 7, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. vikingwoman

    Why would anyone be against cleaning up the environment & making sure the planet is fit for habitation for future generations? Who knows if we are causing irreversible damage (probably so), that's not the point! As so many GOTP'ers like to point out, we want to hand our grandkids a bright future, w/out overbearing debt! But that point will be moot if we hand them a filthy, dying planet! Why would we not want to clean up our mess? I don't know about y'all but I like clean water & air & it's about as hot in Tx.as we can take! C'mon now, this is not a political issue, it's humanitarian & environmental!!

    May 7, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Tommy G

    Sniffit
    "So please, spare us your lies about working."
    #8Million
    Now, be a good boy and eat your crow.
    -–

    A number pulled out of Obama's backside means nothing without knowing what that number represents. 5 million of those people had their insurance cancelled by Obamacare. Reports are that up to 20% haven't paid for their healthcare yet. No reports of how many of these people actually didn't have health insurance before. And of course, Obama refuses to divulge these numbers. Working??? Prove it with facts not some fantasy number that was made up like the Benghazi video demonstration.

    May 7, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    @Donna
    Silence DoGood
    @Donna
    OK, so pull the guys in that can't tell us what the weather will be 3 days from now in order to tell us about what will happen much further out. Yes, very, very credible! Please remember, if you like your weather you can keep your weather!!!
    -–
    If you don't think the scientists in Meteorology can tell us about the weather and climate, what branch of "science" are all the nay-sayers a part of that you are listening too? Surely this is a new branch of science like creationism I suppose.
    -–

    So if these scientists as you call them cannot predict the weather three days from now with no degree of certainty, what makes you think their predictions are any more accurate for predictions a month or a year or a decade out?

    Their predictions are based on models, models are based on assumptions and factors which we know little or nothing about when it comes to weather prediction. If they knew them, these models would be about to predict the short term weather with some level of accuracy.

    Meteorologists are one step about gypsy fortune tellers and the looney left wants to sell them as rocket scientists and wreck our entire way of living and economy based on this rubbish "science", which has alreayd been proven to be a fraud.
    ------------
    Not answering my very simple question is telling enough. The nay-sayers have no science behind them.
    And as for conservative revisionist history, before modern meteorology, people often died, caught completely unaware by weather disasters, as opposed to now when people often (not always) get warned.

    May 7, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tony
    scientists don't publish papers for the government. Their papers are subject to peer review before publication. The vast majority of climate scientists believe in climate change.
    ------------------------------------------------
    All of which makes absolutely no difference to those that have eyes but will not see, ears but will not hear Tony.

    May 7, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. otlset

    From the article: "...Instead, the intended focus was to help communities prepare for the National Climate Assessment's predictions of droughts, heat waves, and severe storms that are on the way."

    We've had plenty of droughts, heat waves, and severe storms in the past, and will continue to have them in the future. You call this a prediction? Any fool can predict in such a general way, and then be proven right. Now if they would get specific in their predictions and they come true, then they'd have something of value in the way of evidence to point to. But they don't dare be so bold, after seeing the dismal year-after-year failures of the National Hurricane Center to predict hurricanes.

    Also from the article: "“I do accept the science that increasing [carbon dioxide] significantly leads to a warming of the earth,” he told CJR." And yet even though atmospheric CO2 levels have modestly risen for the past fifteen years, global temperatures have not, which indicates there are larger factors at work than atmospheric CO2 levels in driving the earth's climate systems. Such factors of course out of the reach of governmental control.

    May 7, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Tommy G

    TONE
    Tommy G
    The obvious solution for this problem is to outlaw all fossil fuel usage, mandate solar panels and windmills for everybody and raise taxes on the 1% to 100%. Trust Obama and the Democrats they know what they are doing, just like knew what they were doing with Obamacare.
    -–
    You are defending your rich masters meanwhile they are spending millions to buy arc like noah so that they can be safe from the disasters that climate change brings. Can you buy an arc tommy boy.
    --

    Oivay.... No duffus I am not investing in an arc. Just Like I didn't invest in wool sweaters when the weather kooks predicted the coming ice age in the 70's. It has become pretty obvious that the left is comprised of a bunch of mindless lemmings that are easily lead around by the nose without having to use their brains.

    May 7, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. just someone

    Tom l
    Right. Because the govt has given us so many reasons to trust them. Are you saying that these scientists aren't motivated by the funding?
    _________________________________________
    Does your employer affect your opinion because they pay you? Really, Tom? More of your anti-government silliness?
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    No the Boss does not affect my opinion, but he definitely does affect what I say or do on the job. If my opinion is diferent than the boss’s I have the option of quitting.

    May 7, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. anonymous

    the dust bowl drought of the 1930's (34-37)
    the great new england hurricane of 1938
    hurricane donna in 1960

    severe weather a new occurrence??? bwahahahhahaha!!! you leftie whack jobs are truly hilarous. take your junk science and sell it someplace else.

    May 7, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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