May 7th, 2014
11:17 AM ET
3 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. Anonymous

    DM4O posted:

    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.
    --------------------------
    You're on a roll again, but Lynda has left you in her dust.

    Is everyone having fun playing Game of Trolls?

    May 7, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    vikingwoman

    Why would anyone be against cleaning up the environment & making sure the planet is fit for habitation for future generations?
    -------------------------------------------------
    You might as well have asked "Why would anyone be a Republican in this age of enlightment?".
    The answer: There's just no reason.

    May 7, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Dean

    Meterologists are like psychologists...they speak in generalities and are rarely correct. Very few true scientists on this panel with the balance being made up of activists or those with a high degree of bias. A much greater number of qualified scientists have publicly stated that any type of climate change, which by it's very nature is cyclical, is not in any way effected by the presence of humans on the planet.

    May 7, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. NEWS FLASH: Massive soil erosion in Colorado MUST BE STOPPED

    It is being reported that massive soil erosion due to unchecked water flow from the Colorado river has resulted in a massive hole in the ground. Liberals, environMENTALists, and Democrats have demanded the government take action to correct the problem and fill in this massive hole.

    It is advised that all Americans should schedule their trip to the Grand Canyon prior to the start of this massive new government project: Operation Grand Scam.

    May 7, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Tony

    Donna, scientists base their beliefs on empirical evidence. You can almost always find contrary evidence, but the vast majority of evidence supports the theory of climate change. It is called a theory because scientists are cautious people. They will not presume to tell you that something is fact unless no other explanation is possible.

    May 7, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. just someone

    rs
    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.
    ____________________
    Considering that the ACA is working better than expected, what's your point? You prefer to trust the 3% of "climate scientists" whose research is paid for by the Koch brothers?
    ______________________________
    My son got Obamacare and with government assistance he only has to pay $100 a month. The problem is he has to choose between the Obamacare bill, his use car loan, his rent or something else. There was a trip to the hospital for him. I asked, did your Obamacare help? He said no, I had to pay everything out of my pocket. His Obamacare policy has a $7000 deductable. After that he still has to pay 20-30% and his $1200 payment to the insurance company. How many young people will need $7,000 of healthcare in a year? He still has to pay $100 a month for nothing he will be able to use. Does that make sense to you?

    May 7, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. CryBabies

    Where did all of you 24/7 ers come from....Area 51? Reading all the blogs from this left wing buddies club competes with Mad Magazine from the 60's.

    May 7, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tony

    Donna, scientists base their beliefs on empirical evidence. You can almost always find contrary evidence, but the vast majority of evidence supports the theory of climate change. It is called a theory because scientists are cautious people. They will not presume to tell you that something is fact unless no other explanation is possible.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Oh hell, we've lost Donna.
    Donna?! Donnaaaaaa?!

    May 7, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "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."

    But that's the whole point, no? Deliberately make sure we're ill-prepared for natural disasters and then turn around and blame the gov't to "prove" that gov't is "broken", right?

    May 7, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Chris-E...al

    We never know we might get hit by a extinctor asteroid or a super valcano could happen next month ? Who knows ? Now that would be climate abrupt change . These are two events that will happen . We dont know when but they will .

    May 7, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Tony D

    Put high tarrifs on goods
    Put extremely high tarrifs on goods imported from countries that don't follow the same pollution regulations as the US.
    ---

    Above is nominated for the most INSANE idea yet.

    May 7, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Meterologists are like psychologists...they speak in generalities and are rarely correct.

    You local weather man bobblehead on the evening news is probably a meteorologist, but equating all meteorologists with that particular person/the job that person does is ridiculously incorrect.

    May 7, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    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.

    ===============================================================

    Things that make you say, "Hmm." Can you see it?

    May 7, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. secular integrity

    The earth is 6,000 years old, and flat, and impervious to man burning fossil fuels for over a hundred years, it only took hundreds of millions of years to create, oops, forgot, its only 6,000 years old, my bad.

    May 7, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. Tony D

    Sniffit
    "Meterologists are like psychologists...they speak in generalities and are rarely correct.
    You local weather man bobblehead on the evening news is probably a meteorologist, but equating all meteorologists with that particular person/the job that person does is ridiculously incorrect.
    ---

    So please do explain how they are soooo much better, and know sooo much more? Just because you said they were? Just because they can be used to further your whacky environmental agenda?

    May 7, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...Then there's the claim from the old "Country First" then "Take Our Country Back", and now "I got mine, to hell with the rest of youse" crowd stating that what's the use of doing anything in regards to climate change if other countries are not doing anything.
    ???
    Really?
    Whatever happenned to what you guys like to spew out of the other side of your mouth about the USA being a leader in this, that and the other?
    Somebody has to lead.
    Somebody has to start doing the right thing.
    Why don't you want that someone to be us in regards to climate change?
    Or does that line of thinking only apply when it comes to us spending trillions of dollars to go to war.
    U.S. : First at war, last in everything else.

    May 7, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Duh Scientists

    Yea, let's get people involved who can't even forecast the weather a week out. Lol. These lefties are going to be so embarrassed if they ever find their brains.

    May 7, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. tom l

    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?
    =======

    Interesting way of phrasing it. So you are actually proving what I am saying. Human nature would be to absolutely make sure they continue their "employment" and will do anything to make sure of it. If my employer paid me to have a certain opinion and if that opinion was different from what I would get paid then I would probably make pretty darn sure that I show something to continue to get paid. Thanks for clearing that up and making my point.

    May 7, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "The earth is 6,000 years old, and flat, and impervious to man burning fossil fuels for over a hundred years, it only took hundreds of millions of years to create, oops, forgot, its only 6,000 years old, my bad."

    And Mitch McConnell is a direct descendant of the infinite turtles that hold the Earth up in space.

    May 7, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Harold Read

    Weatherpersons...
    The same clowns that predict that it will rain and it doesn't.
    The same clowns that predict that it will be nice outside and it rains.

    "It's all about the economy" was Obama's rallying cry last week. Now it is "global weather disruption". Meanwhile, more small businesses have died during the Obama Administration than have been created,

    May 7, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Duh Scientists

    Yea, let's get people involved who can't even forecast the weather a week out. Lol. These lefties are going to be so embarrassed if they ever find their brains.
    ------------------------
    Howdy, folks. This here "Farmer's Almanac" I got in my hand says winters are getting colder, summers are getting hotter, winds are getting windier, and rains are getting rainier. They've been publishing this here almanac for what, must be close to 6000 years, and it has never been wrong before. There you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth.

    May 7, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "5 million of those people had their insurance cancelled by Obamacare."

    And on what do you base that number? The sign-up applications did not ask and the insurance companies did not ask. Fact: It is completely impossible to know that number, whether it's 12 people or 5M. Moreover, it's important to remember as well that the insurers were actively trying to deter people from going on the exchanges to find a replacement plan. Some even got fined for doing it so deceptively and then charging more for the automatic roll-over plan than they were for the same plan if bought on the exchange. It was so bad that HHS had to issue regulations for what information the "cancellation/automatic roll-over" letters must contain. In other words, industry-wide efforts to keep people off the exchanges if they "lost" their insurance doesn't bode well for your assumptions that "most" people who signed up on the exchange were those same people.

    May 7, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. bobo

    One Problem.... meteorologists study WEATHER.... not Climate change. This is why I do not watch the Weather Channel anymore... all propaganda now.

    May 7, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. Thomas

    This is why I watch Fox News Weather .

    Sean Hannity is more then a meteorologist , he's a rain maker .

    May 7, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Greg In Arkansas

    If 9 out of 10 scientists say that "Climate Change" is a danger but YOU believe the one that says is't NOT......
    Then....
    If 9 out of 10 scientists say that "tobacco smoking" is a danger......do you believe that the one that says it' NOT....?
    If so,.........you might need to re-examine your "thought" process,...

    May 7, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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