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About Us

Category:
Action Team
Description:
Of the various kinds of scientists that explore and inform our understanding of climate, it is meteorologists who communicate the most directly with businesses and the public. They have the unique and important opportunity to use their scientific training and communication skills to educate the public, as well as business and other community leaders about climate change and its solutions.

From agriculture to aviation, meteorologists are well-positioned to lead the organizations they work for to embrace effective climate policies. The  Meteorologists Team works to engage all meteorologists in climate advocacy within their companies and communities.

Broadcast meteorologists are often the only people in media newsrooms who have a background in science. Consequently, they are positioned at a crucial intersection between climate scientists and the general public. As trusted public figures, the forum they provide has the potential to influence local audiences at a scale that is unique within the climate change communication community.
 
Group:
Public
Members:
105

More Info

The Meteorologist Outreach Action Team and BCL’s Meteorologists Sector Team work directly with meteorologists and their professional associations on:
  • Obstacles faced when attempting to include climate change in their broadcasts
  • Resources for presenting climate change information to audiences
  • Methods to communicate effectively about climate change solutions
At the local chapter level, the Team works to train chapters on:
  • Engaging local broadcasters and coordinating advocacy strategies for carbon pricing
  • Supporting local TV & Radio meteorologists when they make connections between extreme weather events and climate change 
The Action Team operates synchronously with Business Climate Leaders’ Meteorologists Sector Team. Leaders of both teams are Richard Larsen and Bob Lindmeier


Advice on engaging TV meteorologists in your local market from Bob Lindmeier, chief meteorologist  at WKOW-TV in Madison Wisconsin

How can we most effectively engage TV meteorologists in our local media market?

Station management and broadcast meteorologists are very sensitive to viewer feedback. Most station websites have email and phone numbers for these people. I would suggest emailing and/or calling all of the members of the broadcast meteorologist team, the news director, and the station manager, and express how important it is to you that they practice climate change education both on air and through social media.

If by chance it is noted by any in your CCL membership that climate change is mentioned on-air or in social media, respond as soon as possible with strong words of thanks for this effort. This email should go to the meteorologist, the news director, and the station manager.

What might cause the professional hesitation to comment on climate science, and have you heard in your meetings and discussions of a way around this?


There are several barriers that broadcast meteorologists face when it comes to expressing their views on climate change.
 
  • They don't feel strongly enough about the science to express an opinion (this is becoming less the case though).
  • Station management discourages or outright forbids the discussion of the subject. This can be a local management decision or a directive from corporate.
  • The broadcast meteorologist is early in their career and are trying to build viewership. (if not enough viewers watch them, they'll lose their job).  Discussing a controversial subject such as climate change may make them fearful that some viewers will not watch them.
  • Some do not know enough about climate change to feel comfortable about speaking about the subject.

Are there network or management hurdles we may be unaware of?

Yes, there are several station groups (Fox and Sinclair come to mind) that have station group mandates preventing the discussion of climate change. You can research the climate change positions of the station groups in your market and gain further insight on whether this is a hindrance for the meteorologists. In addition, the station manager and/or news director in many instances has the final say regarding climate change coverage.


Other Resources
  1. Connecting weather and climate - Arizona TV Meteorologist Amber Sullins
  2. "Climate Matters” reporting resource for meteorologists and journalists – From Climate Central
  3. Role of meteorologists in educating the public about climate change - American Meteorological Society Annual Conference, Boston January 2020
  4. Engaging Radio and TV – From CCL Media
  5. Business Climate Leaders (BCL) Meteorologists Sector

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