CNN Can’t Tell ‘Weather’ from ‘Climate’

For a change of pace from his incessant immigrant bashing, CNN‘s Lou Dobbs recently exclaimed over “unusual storms” and snow in Las Vegas, Southern California and Arizona’s mountains. This “unbelievable” evidence has Dobbs wondering: “So what are those folks talking about global warming?”

Posting at Washington Monthly‘s Political Animal blog (12/19/08), Steve Benen describes how, “to ‘discuss’ the subject, Dobbs invited CNN meteorologist Chad Myers and Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr onto the show”:

Not surprisingly, Lehr told Dobbs what he wanted to hear, starting with an anecdote about Lehr’s sky diving hobby.

LEHR: I have jumped out of a plane in Ohio every month for 31 years, and I track the weather constantly to find out if I can make it out of a plane. And I can tell you, the weather the last ten years hasn’t been significantly different than the ten years before that or the ten years before that. It has been — it is always changes what the weather is about. And to say that it has to do with global warming is really more of a joke than anything else. Why people are so alarmed about it, I have no clue.

DOBBS: You know, that’s fascinating.

Before ending the segment, Lehr added that the sun, “not man,” warms the planet, and that “right now,” we’re “going in to cooling rather than warming.”

Let’s quickly highlight reality here. First, it’s not the sun. Second, snowfall on one day in one part of the country does not reflect “climate.” Third, an anecdote about sky-diving experimentation is not indicative of climate science. Fourth, though Dobbs apparently forgot to mention it, the Heartland Institute is a conservative think tank subsidized by ExxonMobil, not an independent scientific organization, and Jay Lehr’s background is in “groundwater hydrology,” not climate science.

Oh, and fifth, this is not “fascinating.”

Benennotes that “the bizarre commentary from CNN‘s Chad Myers wasn’t much better. He argued that it’s ‘arrogant’ to think that humans can affect the climate (‘Mother nature is so big,’ he said) and that people who accept global warming are only looking at ‘a hundred years worth of data, not millions of years that the world has been around.'”

Benen wonders, “Why is this man a CNN meteorologist?” But the sad fact is that a lot of TV weather people think their experience predicting local snowfalls makes them more expert on climate change than actual climate scientists, and often peddle similar nonsense on the air.

See FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “In Denial on Climate Change: Leading Pundits Reject Science on Global Warming” (5-6/07) by Peter Hart