One of the tactics used by climate science disinformers is to wheel out people who reject the science. Some disinformers will even try to persuade people that people who accept science reject it. Then there are climate science deniers who deny that they reject climate science, even while they are rejecting it. Sometimes deniers are presented as climate science "experts" when they have no qualifications in climate science. Their expertise lies in denying climate science.
Fox News presents a climate science denier. What's new?
A short while ago one such denier managed to get a spot on a Fox television show. He traded on the fact that around 30 years ago he set up a television weather channel in the USA called "The Weather Channel". I doubt that too many people around the world know who he is. Probably not that many Americans would remember him either. He's from a bygone era. His name is John Coleman and he's a mate of Anthony Watts. He made his career in television back in the 1970s, before most people on earth today were born. He only retired this year though, so maybe there are still plenty of Americans who know who he is.
Anthony Watts is more qualified in weather forecasting than John Coleman. Anthony spent a few years at Purdue University studying meteorology. He didn't graduate, partly because he suffered a hearing loss. This would have made it very difficult for him. (Even today people with profound hearing loss are seriously disadvantaged in the education system.) Anyway, Anthony got a job as a weather announcer and forecaster with a television channel. I think he still does it for his local radio or television station.
John Coleman, on the other hand, studied journalism and can be considered a business person and television entertainer. He has no qualifications in meteorology. His early career was as a weather announcer on television. You don't need any qualifications to read from a teleprompt. In the US at the time, weather announcers doubled as entertainers. As I understand it, John Coleman played this role very well and his show was very popular.
John Coleman might be regarded by many older Americans (who remember him) as a weather guru, even though he's not. I expect along the way he picked up quite a bit of knowledge about weather and weather forecasting. But that doesn't make him an expert.
As far as climate science goes, he's a denier. He wrote an open letter declaring his denial and claiming that he doesn't even accept the greenhouse effect (archived here). He's an utter nutter type of denier. Not even a lukewarmer. He wrote:
There is no significant man-made global warming at this time, there has been none in the past and there is no reason to fear any in the future. Efforts to prove the theory that carbon dioxide is a significant “greenhouse” gas and pollutant causing significant warming or weather effects have failed.
John Coleman is only a wacko climate science denier, denies he's a flat earther
While John Coleman proclaimed that he was a wacko climate science denier, he did say that he is not a wacko flat Earther. So that's something I suppose. He claimed that he is "not a “paid shill” (as has been claimed) of the Koch Brothers". He didn't say who it is who pays him to "shill", though he is listed as a past speaker at a Heartland Conference, which as I understand it pays it's speakers (see here and here), though not very much. (I don't know if Fox paid him an appearance fee.)
John Coleman appeals to the wrong authority
John Coleman didn't offer any reason for rejecting mainstream climate science and the greenhouse effect, other than that some other people reject it, and that he co-founded The Weather Company so he should know. In other words, he appealed to authority. Problem was, 9,001 of the 9,003 authorities he appealed to probably weren't climate scientists either. They were just a bunch of science deniers. An ageing bunch of ideological science deniers and disinformers. Not only that he misrepresented their opinions. He wrote:
William Happer, Ph.D., Princeton University, Richard Lindzen, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Willie Soon, Ph.D., Harvard Smithsonian Observatory, John Christy, Ph.D., University of Alabama and 9,000 other Ph.D. scientists all agree with my opening two sentences.
Now I haven't seen that any of these people came out and disputed John Coleman's misrepresentation. However I'd like to see them come out clearly and agree that carbon dioxide is not a significant greenhouse gas. Come on Richard Lindzen and John Christy - give it your best shot. Come on 9,000 PhD scientists - tell us that there has been "no significant man-made global warming at this time". Tell us that this is not significant:
Anthony Watts doesn't deny that John Coleman is not a climate expert
What prompted me to write this article was when a reader drew to my attention a comment at WUWT and the response from Anthony Watts:
labman57 pointed out that John Coleman has no qualifications in climate science. Here is what he wrote, together with Anthony Watts' reply:
November 2, 2014 at 11:18 am
Coleman is about as qualified to discuss the scientific merits of climate change as is Pat Sajak.
The guy is a businessman, not a scientist … which certainly explains why News Corp would regard him as a climate change expert.
REPLY: Let me tell you, “labman57″ aka anonymous coward, that I’m 110% certain that not only are you a coward, who has not the integrity to put his own name to his words, but a complete idiot too.
Your opinion is noted, and ignored. Feel free to be as upset as you wish and don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out. – Anthony Watts
Notice how Anthony Watts does not dispute the fact that John Coleman has no credentials in climate science. How he doesn't dispute anything that labman57 wrote. Instead he focuses on the fact that, like the majority of people who comment at WUWT, labman57 used a pseudonym. He claims that labman57 is "an idiot", but provides no evidence of that. In fact, there is no evidence. On the contrary, labman57 just wrote what should have been obvious to everyone.
That is typical of Anthony Watts. When he gets cornered he lashes out blindly. He couldn't dispute what labman57 wrote, because it's factual. All he could do was ban him from commenting further. Facts have no place at WUWT.
John Coleman is ridiculed on CNN
Following his appearance on Fox, John Coleman was invited to a show on CNN, called Reliable Sources. Also invited was the David Kenny, the current CEO of The Weather Company, which John Coleman left 31 years ago (less than two years after it was established). The CNN website had this in the introduction:
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."
This comment at WUWT is priceless! John Coleman admitted:
November 2, 2014 at 9:29 am
So here is what fired me off…
The host was talking to the Kenny off of the air before the interview and as I waited in my earpiece I heard the host say that they were doing this segment because Fox had the stupid audacity to put an old, anti-science denier on the air and they wanted to set the record straight and discredit him. Of course, this really got under my skin.
[Thank you for the courage to speak in public. .mod]
John Coleman doesn't say which part got under his skin. Whether it was the "old" adjective, or whether it was the "anti-science" pejorative, or whether it was that CNN wanted to set the record straight :)
I haven't watched the whole thing - I'm more of a reader than a watcher :) However I can report that John Coleman starts off sayng that "I resent you calling me a denier. That is a word meant to put me down. I'm a "skeptic" about climate change. And I want to make it darned clear Mr Kenny's not a scientist. I am."
So John Coleman starts out badly - with two lies. He claims to be a "skeptic", and he claims to be a "scientist". Both of which the record shows he clearly is not.
From the WUWT comments
dbstealey took issue with labman57, writing:
November 2, 2014 at 11:28 amWhich is all a bit mixed up. Labman57 didn't say anything that wasn't true and verifiable. Therefore there was no display of ignorance. It's true that labman57's comment was an ad hom, but not irrelevant. If someone disputes science then one is entitled to see if that person has any basis for doing so. When all they have is an appeal to authority - which isn't even an authority on the subject. When the person disputing science is not an expert themselves, then it is quite legitimate to point that out.
Your ignorance is on display here.
John Coleman has been on the right side of the debate — the correct side — all along.
And you? What have you added, beside your content-free, ad hominem attack?
Eliza points out that WUWT doesn't have any credibility or exposure when it comes to promoting denialism.
November 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm
A Lesson to be learnt re getting it out there. Mr Coleman has probably done more to get the message out there than all the skeptic sites put together by simple writing a letter and being a founder of the weather channel.Unfortunately all the complex postings done by WUWT SG CA ect dod not really get out there. One bit of good news that will actually get something done about it here
I couldn't end up with a better comment than this one from Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
November 2, 2014 at 2:08 am
As one person said on Facebook, I hope they don’t edit your interview to alter what you actually said. It bugs me a bit that they followed up your interview on Coast To Coast, with a UFO abduction story interview.
More priceless! John Coleman denies climate science followed by a true life story about a UFO abduction.
By the way, here are links to the two WUWT articles about John Coleman and his very public science denial: