If the debate over climate change is closed, why is John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, still trying to prove it’s all a scam?
Well over a quarter-million weathercasts—that’s the ballpark figure the 74-year-old founding father of the Weather Channel guesses he’s probably performed in his 55 years in the business. Today, as for the past 15 years, he’s chalked up another weathercast like it’s his job, because it is. This, he tells me, is the best time of his career.
Which seems odd, because in the past few years, he’s admittedly become mad as hell. Coleman is angry because he believes we have been brainwashed into thinking we’re ruining our own planet. He wants to let us off the hook, and give us some good news for a change, because, you see, John Coleman says that climate change is a scam.
If you consume mainstream media, odds are you’re not hearing much debate about climate change these days. We’re told the debate is effectively over. Scientists say so, too. It’s our consumption that continues to ruin our planet’s environmental health, so there’s no longer time to debate—it’s time to act. Every time we do anything, like flip on a light switch or charge an iPod or turn on the A/C, we’re contributing to the release of greenhouse gases, and so the oceans rise and that’s a problem for the polar bears and, well, you know—something like that. It may be difficult to explain, but we know the state of the environment is bad. Most recently, in fact, we were told that the effects of man-made climate change are all but irreversible. [McAuleys World – The debate over “Global Warming is hardly over – In fact 1000’s of reputable Scientists dispute these theories]
John Coleman has dedicated his life to studying weather and the science that creates it—so shouldn’t we at least hear him out?
So, yes, the debate is over. And yet for some reason, somewhere outside the fray, the weather sage John Coleman decided it shouldn’t be. That we’d been hoodwinked. That it was still worth talking about. So a year and a half ago, determined he’d heard enough of the noise and the Al Gore and the polar bears, he threw his voice into the conversation.
When Coleman posted his first climate change brief online, he was surprised by the attention it got. “I thought I was the only one,” he says. “I started finding that there were plenty of people out there, it’s just that the media was ignoring them and the place to find them was on these little corners of the internet.” In May, 2008, an organization called the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine released a petition at the National Press Club, with the signatures of 31,000 scientists rejecting the U.N. consensus of man-made climate change. 9000 of the names belong to Ph.Ds.
Encouraged, he delivered a speech last March at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York where he said that Al Gore and others selling carbon credits should be sued for fraud. His hope, he said, was that the publicity from such a suit would potentially debunk climate change in a court room instead of waiting for the media to do its supposed due diligence.
So is he a crank—Willard Scott with an agenda that goes beyond hooky old-school weatherman shtick? Coleman’s life has been dedicated to studying and presenting weather and the science that creates it—so shouldn’t we at least hear him out? He thinks we should, and he has supporters. He says the science we’ve digested is erroneous.
Coleman saw An Inconvenient Truth on DVD and he says he made it all the way through, but “not without screaming.”
Among other things, it took drowning polar bears and the internet to get John Coleman firing on all cylinders. “Gradually there’s this build-up, this hysteria about global warming,” he says. “The Al Gore book comes out. The Al Gore movie comes out and starts winning awards. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gets headline news status and starts issuing its predictions. The media is clamoring aboard and the next thing I know, it’s headline news every day, everywhere. And I’ve been studying it, reading stuff, and looking at it, and can’t figure out what the heck they’re talking about.”
What “they” are talking about, and we have heard much about is that climate change is one of greatest challenges we face in our lifetime and that humankind is generally fucking up everything imaginable involving air, water, and land. John Coleman says it’s perpetrated by the media who loves it some Gore. “You’ve got Al Gore. You’ve got the environmentalists. And then all the networks come aboard, because they love gloom and doom, the-end-is-near,” he says. “From Y2K to killer bees—God, give us something to tell people their lives are coming to an end—cancer scare, HIV, whatever we’ve got—let’s go, Man, scare the hell out of people,” he says. “This is awful. Shame on them, scaring people. That’s deplorable.”
According to Coleman, the media is biased and sloppy and perpetuates the climate change myth. “Has Larry King called me? Oh no. Has 60 Minutes been interested in our side of the story? Oh no. 20/20? Oh no.” Coleman continues: “I’ve been totally ignored by ABC, NBC, CBS—put down by CNN.” He has been interviewed by FOX News and also by Glenn Beck, who, he says, “used me as part of his rant.”
Coleman seethed. Soon thereafter, he posted a missive on KUSI.com’s “Coleman’s Corner.”
“So I get indignant and I write that blog and throw it on the website,” he says. “That’s kind of totally absorbed my life since.”
Sitting at our table overlooking Montgomery Field, a regional airport, just a few miles north of downtown San Diego late last spring. With the distant whir of single-engine props in the background, John Coleman tells me that all anyone really needs to know about the climate change scam is carbon dioxide.
“Environmentalists, they think CO2 is a pollutant,” he says, and then makes an act of exhaling. “There’s a little pollution for you,” he says, and then points in the general vicinity of vegetation that isn’t looking all that vibrant (unless brown is vibrant). “See that bush beside you there? It’d be dead without CO2.” Without CO2, he says, “We wouldn’t have any food. Humans couldn’t exist. CO2 is vital to life.” He pauses for a moment and then raises his voice an octave. “My God! Calling that a pollutant? Ridiculous.”
Coleman acknowledges that carbon dioxide continues to build up in the atmosphere. In 1958, he says, the CO2 atmospheric level was 315 parts per million. Today CO2 is 385 parts per million—more than a 20 percent increase. If you’re making a case for a direct correlation between increased atmospheric CO2 levels and climate change, you’re saying the increased CO2 is causing changes in ocean chemistry, which in turn is changing the entire climate equation.
“It’s a trace. How does that destroy the planet?” says Coleman. “And they publish their papers and scream and the media says, Oh God, the end is near! And it’s all baloney; there isn’t anything to it. It turns out to be sheer folly. But it all comes back to CO2—they haven’t got anything else.”
“Have temperatures gone up? No. Is global warming sweeping the planet? No. Is the ice melting at the poles? No. Is there any proof that it’s creating significant impact? No. Can you produce a computer model that predicts that it will? Oh yeah, anyone can manipulate a computer model, and they have.”
Of course, the prevailing wisdom is that yes, temperatures have gone up, that ice is melting, and that the scientists assessing climate data aren’t doing so with malicious intent. Attempting to debunk those who are attempting to debunk climate change, as it turns out, is complicated.
Coleman gives speaking engagements he says are well received, but won’t accept invitations from the petroleum industry. “They all invite me, because they are so tired of being the bad boys of global warming. So they want to have me come tell them they’re not bad boys,” he says. “And they want to give me money.” Coleman says he’s pro-alternative energy, because it’s a natural progression—not because of climate change, he says.