Weather Channel: Co-founder doesn't speak for us on global warming

john coleman weather channel
John Coleman is co-founder of The Weather Channel.

The Weather Channel is distancing itself from one of its co-founders who publicly disavows the dangers associated with man-made climate change.

John Coleman, the co-founder, and David Kenny, the current CEO of The Weather Company, both spoke on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday after Coleman published an open letter and appeared on a prime time Fox News program voicing his opinion.

Kenny said he decided to publish his own letter clarifying the channel's belief in global warming because "some people were confused" by Coleman's comments.

"We're grateful that he got us started 32 years ago. But he hasn't been with us in 31 years. So he's not really speaking for The Weather Channel in any way today," Kenny said.

Kenny added, "I think we can all be proud of our resumes, but I would prefer people use the credentials they have today, not the credentials of three decades ago."

Coleman, in a separate interview on "Reliable Sources," reiterated his belief that "there is no global warming" and harshly criticized the present-day Weather Channel's programming. "What a mess they've made of it," he said, referring to its current owners.

Watch the interviews

Neither Coleman or the channel's positions are new. Coleman has been expressing skepticism about climate change for many years, and the channel has had an official "position statement" about the subject since 2007.

"The climate of the earth is indeed warming," the channel's statement says, and "impacts can already be seen, especially in the Arctic." The statement also cites "strong evidence that the majority of the warming over the past century is a result of human activities," while acknowledging that questions about human influence on the climate are "complicated."

The channel decided to reiterate and re-publicize its position at the end of October after Coleman's recent comments. Fox highlighted Coleman's role as co-founder of The Weather Channel, prompting a number of stories on conservative news sites.

On "Reliable Sources," Coleman asserted that "the media, including CNN, only puts one side on the air."

Contradicting the findings of most scientists, Coleman asserted that "there is no significant man-made global warming now. There hasn't been any in the past and there's no reason to expect any in the future."

At the same time, a new report that analyzed 30,000 scientific papers on climate change said experts are increasingly convinced that humans are causing the Earth to warm. The report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released Sunday, studied the work of 830 authors.

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Coleman didn't sound disappointed by the channel's disclaimer that he hasn't been a part of the company since the '80s. But he said he is "terribly disappointed" by the programming of the channel nowadays, calling it "totally distorted" with "strange" reality shows.

Kenny, for his part, said he cared less about Coleman's comments and more about viewers continuing to trust The Weather Channel and continuing "to believe that we present to them a great understanding of the Earth and how it works based on science."

"I'm concerned whenever the discussion of climate change veers from the science," he said. "The science is really clear. And I don't like our brand being associated with something that's not scientifically-based."


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