CBS Highlights Meteorologists Who Doubt Human Activity Is Causing Global Warming

Saturday’s CBS Evening News gave attention to weather forecasters who disbelieve the theory that human creation of carbon dioxide is causing global warming. Citing a poll finding that most meteorologists believe global warming is occurring, correspondent Elaine Quijano also found that only about one-third believe human activity is causing such warming. After beginning her report by recounting the story of one meteorologist who "was skeptical that human activity was accelerating climate change until he studied the data," and who took a trip to view melting glaciers, she relayed the findings of a poll that found, unlike him, most TV weather forecasters have doubts:

He returned convinced of his position, but a recent survey shows that among his fellow weathercasters, his view is in the minority. The survey by George Mason University and the University of Texas found that while more than half of TV weathercasters believe global warming is happening, less than a third say it is caused mostly by manmade carbon emissions.

She went on to cite two other meteorologists – including Weather Channel founder John Coleman – as disputing the view that carbon dioxide produced by humans is causing climate change. Quijano: "San Diego weathercaster and Weather Channel cofounder John Coleman is one of the more prominent doubters." She soon added: "Former NASA climate scientist, Roy Spencer, admits his view is out of the scientific mainstream. But Spencer argues naturally occurring weather patterns leading to massive cloud changes are causing climate change."

Quijano did not go so far as to relay the view of meterologists like Accuweather's Joe Bastardi that sunspots play a role in warming Earth's climate.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Saturday, May 15, CBS Evening News:

JEFF GLOR, IN OPENING TEASER: Mixed forecast: Why some TV weather forecasters are disputing global warming.

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GLOR, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: Still ahead on tonight`s CBS Evening News, you trust his weather forecasting. Can you trust what he believes about global warming?

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GLOR: Most Americans get their forecasts from TV weathermen, and viewers usually trust they`re getting the right information. But there`s a big split among forecasters right now – not about the next rain shower, but about whether greenhouse gases are causing global warming. Elaine Quijano has more tonight.

DAN SATTERFIELD, METEOROLOGIST, WHNT-TV: We`re in for another warm day today, up to 89 this afternoon-

ELAINE QUIJANO: TV weatherman Dan Satterfield finds himself in the middle of the heated debate over man`s role in global climate change.

SATTERFIELD: It used to be a mountain of evidence. It`s now a mountain range of evidence.

QUIJANO: For a long time, Satterfield, the chief meteorologist at CBS affiliate WHNT in Huntsville, Alabama, was skeptical that human activity was accelerating climate change until he studied the data.

SATTERFIELD: You put greenhouse gases into an atmosphere, the planet`s going to get warmer. That`s just done and said. It`s a fact.

QUIJANO: Satterfield`s beliefs were bolstered by his own travels to the Arctic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the North Pole.

SATTERFIELD: I feel like I`m there, I`ll tell you.

QUIJANO: In 2007, he saw firsthand the glaciers that scientists say are shrinking dramatically.

SATTERFIELD: That`s the coast of Greenland behind me. It`s one of the only two ice caps left on Earth.

QUIJANO: He returned convinced of his position, but a recent survey shows that among his fellow weathercasters, his view is in the minority. The survey by George Mason University and the University of Texas found that while more than half of TV weathercasters believe global warming is happening, less than a third say it is caused mostly by manmade carbon emissions.

JOHN COLEMAN, WEATHERCASTER, KUSI-TV: And here are today`s high temperatures.

QUIJANO: San Diego weathercaster and Weather Channel cofounder John Coleman is one of the more prominent doubters.

COLEMAN CLIP #1: Everything they do has been based on that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.

COLEMAN CLIP #2: So if that`s invalid – which it is, and I know it is – then all of the other falls by the wayside.

QUIJANO: The doubters are also strong right in Satterfield`s hometown of Huntsville.

ROY SPENCER, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA-HUNTSVILLE: It`s my view that most global warming has been natural.

QUIJANO: Former NASA climate scientist, Roy Spencer, admits his view is out of the scientific mainstream. But Spencer argues naturally occurring weather patterns leading to massive cloud changes are causing climate change.

SPENCER: Nature is perfectly capable of producing its own global warming or global cooling.

QUIJANO: In an effort to bridge the gap, climatologists and meteorologists gathered in Miami today for a conference organized by Yale University.

BEN SANTER, LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY: Most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.

QUIJANO: Dan Satterfield was there.

SATTERFIELD: I try to figure out what the weather is going to do for the next three to five, seven days, and that isn`t easy. Your natural thing to think is: How can they possibly tell me what the weather is going to do in 100 years?

QUIJANO: It may take 100 years to see who`s right. Elaine Quijano, CBS News, New York.