For some, climate change is a tough sell. So with an updated and wide-ranging report out on global warming, the Obama administration is getting creative to convince the skeptics, granting one-on-one interviews with eight local and national meteorologists. (Via The White House, Twitter / @JimGandyWLTX / @alroker / @JohnMoralesNBC6 / @Ginger_Zee)
AL ROKER: "I'm going to sit down with the president a little later this afternoon to talk about climate change and where we are." (Via NBC)
Politico offers some insight on the move: "By reaching out to TV forecasters, Obama can bypass the usual Beltway media and reach viewers who may not normally dig into reports about climate science."
The strategy, though, is hardly a new one. As Mashable's Andrew Freedman notes, Bill Clinton, along with Vice President Al Gore, tried the same approach in 1997 — but "their efforts largely backfired when many participants viewed the event (and the subject matter) as too politicized."
Still, going directly to the meteorologists makes some sense. This 2008 survey out of George Mason and Yale universities found 66 percent of Americans consider TV weather reporters their most trusted source of information about global warming.
Interestingly, by and large, meteorologists remain some of the biggest skeptics of climate change projections.
In this 2010 survey, also from George Mason University, nearly 63 percent of TV weather forecasters said natural causes — not human activities — were the main factors driving climate change.
Critics would say that's because TV weathercasters aren't always scientists. Previous studies have found only half have degrees in meteorology or atmospheric science. (Via National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
But Charles Homans at the Columbia Journalism Review offers another reason: "Meteorologists live in the short term, the day-to-day forecast" — making them less prone to buy into long-term models.
Whatever the reason, the White House is hoping it can rely on the recognition of some of country's top meteorologists to promote its new study and get the American public to tune in to an issue that gets little coverage. (Via The White House)
Consider this: According to the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters, in the past year, the Sunday shows dedicated a total of 27 minutes of coverage to the topic of climate change. Nightly news aired a total of one hour and 42 minutes over the course of the entire year.
As part of Obama's climate plan, the president has said he plans to use his executive authority to put tighter pollution controls on coal and gas utilities, along with creating new fuel-efficiency standards for heavy trucks. Republicans argue the president's plan means higher taxes and more government regulation.