San Francisco, CA – January 20, 2012
A new campaign, Forecast the Facts (www.forecastthefacts.org), launches Sunday to pressure TV meteorologists to inform their viewers about climate change. The launch coincides with the kick-off of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.
The campaign will deliver thousands of petition signatures that demand the AMS pass a strong statement on climate change. The current statement—drafted in 2007—is set to expire on Feb1. In the five years since, scientific consensus about climate change has grown even stronger, and the Forecast the Facts campaign is urging the AMS to reflect that consensus in their new information statement. The new statement, drafted by a panel of experts, requires approval by the 21-member AMS Council, which convenes on Sunday, January 22 at their annual meeting.
“This is an important moment in the history of the AMS,” said Daniel Souweine, the campaign’s director. “It’s well known that large numbers of meteorologists are climate change deniers. It’s essential that the AMS Council resist pressure from these deniers and pass the strong statement currently under consideration.”
In the coming months the campaign plans to launch a full-fledged initiative to educate and activate communities at the local level. Grassroots outreach efforts will include a robust and creative online and offline engagement campaign, including video, advertising, and activist tool-kits, among other interactive elements.
The issue of climate change denial among television weather reporters has gained increasing attention of late, especially with the release of a national study by George Mason University in March 2010. The study found that 63% of T.V. meteorologists think climate change is due to natural causes, and a full 27% think global warming is a scam.
The AMS is the leading national organization for meteorologists, with over 14,000 members. Its information statements are “intended to provide a trustworthy, objective and scientifically up-to-date explanation of scientific issues of concern to the public at large.“ According to the George Mason study, meteorologists trust information from the AMS more than almost any other source, including climate researchers, making the AMS statement on climate change a closely watched document in the meteorological community.
Recent increases in extreme weather have added further impetus for meteorologists to report on climate change. In 2011, the United States experienced a record twelve “billion-dollar” extreme weather events, including flooding from Hurricane Irene, unprecedented tornadoes in the Midwest, and crippling droughts and wildfires in the Southwest. Most scientists believe that climate change exacerbates extreme weather, a conclusion affirmed by the International Panel on Climate Change’s November 2011 report on the subject.