ACTION: Ask TV forecasters to connect climate change and weather
The American Meteorological Society recently updated its statement on climate change, directly saying that global warming is occurring because of human activities, going so far as to say, “Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.”
This presents us with an opening to contact weather forecasters at local TV stations. At the CCL conference in July, Tony Leiserowitz from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication told us that one of the most effective ways to reach the public on climate change is through weather forecasters. The AMS statement presents an opportunity to contact TV forecasters and ask that they help the public to better understand the connection between climate change and weather extremes.
Send an email to the weather forecasters in your city. What to write:
- Briefly introduce yourself.
- Share the concerns you have about our changing climate.
- Ask if they have read the revised statement on climate change from the American Meteorlogical Society (provide a link).
- Include an excerpt from the AMS statement.
- Tell them that the public needs to have a better understanding about the things that are happening with our climate and how it is affecting our weather.
- Ask if, from time to time, they could help educate their audience about climate change and its connection to the extremes in weather we are seeing.
- CC the station manager.
Subect: Revised statement on climate change from American Meteorological Society
Dear [NAME OF WEATHER FORECASTER],
My name is [NAME HERE]. I’ve lived in [CITY HERE] for over [NUMBER OF YEARS], and I’ve enjoyed and appreciated your weather forecasts during that time. I'm very much concerned about the changes we're causing to the Earth's climate and wondering what kind of world my children and grandchildren will inherit. I’m writing to ask if you have seen the updated statement on climate change from the American Meteorological Society. The new statement is much stronger and clearer than earlier AMS positions about the extent of global warming and its causes. Here’s an excerpt:
“There is unequivocal evidence that Earth's lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities… The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing warming will increase risks and stresses to human societies, economies, ecosystems, and wildlife through the 21st century and beyond, making it imperative that society respond to a changing climate… National and international policy discussions should include consideration of the best ways to both adapt to and mitigate climate change. Mitigation will reduce the amount of future climate change and the risk of impacts that are potentially large and dangerous… Prudence dictates extreme care in accounting for our relationship with the only planet known to be capable of sustaining human life.”
Many people have suggested it will take a “Pearl Harbor moment” to motivate policy-makers to take action to address climate change. Well, there have been a number of “Pearl Harbor moments” this year – wildfires out West, corn-killing drought, record-setting ice loss in the Arctic – but much of the public is still unaware of where the bombs are coming from. You are in a unique position to help the public better understand the connection between climate change and the extremes in weather that we are seeing.
I hope that from time to time, when appropriate, you will explain to your audience how our changing climate is affecting our weather.
The following are a couple of resources you may find useful:
Again, my great appreciation for your many years of service to the [CITY HERE] community.