Australian news, and some related international items

Weathercasters Are Talking About Climate Change—and How We Can Solve It 

Weathercasters Are Talking About Climate Change—and How We Can Solve It

In recent years there’s been a seismic shift on climate change within the weather reporting community. MADDIE STONE THIS piece was originally published in Grist and appears here as part of our Climate Desk PARTNERSHIP.

For many years, as the science of human-caused climate change grew ever clearer, TV meteorologists avoided discussing the topic on air. Today, many weathercasters bring up climate change regularly. By embracing the science and presenting it in a simple, locally-relevant manner, TV meteorologists have managed to become some of the most effective and trustworthy climate change educators in the country.

Now some meteorologists are taking the conversation a step further and talking not just about the science of climate change, but how we can solve it.

At the 100th annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Boston earlier this month, a panel of broadcast meteorologists, climate communicators, and policy experts assembled to discuss how solutions to the climate crisis can be woven into TV weather reporting. While wading into politics on the air can carry career risks for many meteorologists, weathercasters are also uniquely positioned to educate the public about climate solutions in a nonpartisan way, whether that’s by delivering locally tailored forecasts of renewable power production or discussing climate resilience strategies in the wake of a major storm.

“Broadcasters have an unusually good platform from which to engage,” said Ed Maibach, the director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, during the panel. “You not only have the access but consistency of relationships with an audience.”

In recent years there’s been a seismic shift on climate change within the weather reporting community. In a 2011 survey of AMS members and the National Weather Association, less than 20 percent felt sure humans are the primary driver of global warming, a statistic that Maibach attributes, in part, to an “aggressive misinformation campaign by the Heartland Institute,” a climate change–denying think tank. But by 2017 that figure had jumped to 80 percent. That’s thanks largely to the efforts of the educators who organized Climate Matters, a climate reporting resource developed by the nonprofit Climate Central, the AMS, and various governmental and academic partners.

February 3, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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