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Local Weathermen Say Global Warming is a Conspiracy, “Scam”

December 10, 2012
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Last week, Rolling Stone ran a story about how TV meteorologists—the “weather experts” who have the most contact with the general population—tend to be doubters of the science of climate change. This despite the fact that ragtag conspiracy theorists like NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS), to which virtually every weatherman and weatherwoman in America belongs, state unequivocally that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change (ACC) is a fact.

It turns out that several of Baltimore’s best and brightest TV weatherman fit the trend to a tee. WBAL’s Tony Pann, who won City Paper’s “Best Weatherman” this year, posted the RS story on his Facebook page, calling it “ridiculous” and referring to ACC as a “theory.”

It was suggested to Pann on Facebook that he renounce his membership in the AMS (which he brags about on the WBAL website) over its positions that “Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal” and that the “dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced.” He said, “I think a lot of AMS members are going to do just that! I won’t be alone. The AMS took some serious lobbying heat from those in the reaserch [sic] field. If you are making a living on government grants to research global warming, and have been for 20 years, you don’t want that money to dry up! I hate to say it, but you just have to follow the money.”

Pann, who holds a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from Northern Illinois University, says this despite the fact that, according to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (NPAS), “(i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii)the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers. ”

And he’s not the only local 7-day forecaster throwing out conspiracy theories about climate change. WMAR’s Mike Masco, who has a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a certificate in “Broadcast Meteorology,” joined in the Facebook debate, calling global warming “the biggest scam in modern time,” and insisting “I don’t drink the liberal coolaid [sic].”

Asked for comment, Justin Berk, formerly of WMAR, said the Rolling Stone story “was written with an agenda,” and also referred to ACC as “a theory.”

As the NPAS study and countless others show, there is absolute consensus in the scientific community—the one with PhDs who spend their lives studying climatology—that human-caused global warming is a genuine threat to humanity. If you want more detailed—and terrifying—proof check out this extensive story from RS, which quotes several eminent climatologists from NASA and elsewhere).

Unfortunately, the public remains unconvinced and that’s because they get their “science” from pundits like Sean Hannity and politicians like Sen. James Inhofe, both of whom have used their absolute lack of scientific credentials to call climate change “a hoax.” Local TV weathermen like Pann and Masco use their eminently junior credentials to add a few big words to the denial and much of the public is only too happy to believe them and punt on some of the hard decisions that come with slowing the rate of global warming.

In short, we’re doomed.