Lingering U.S. political debate over whether human activity is causing climate change could be settled once and for all by the 2016 presidential election, according to John Coleman, a climate change denier who co-founded The Weather Channel.
Coleman, a retired TV weatherman credited with persuading a communications magnate to start The Weather Channel in 1981, said during an interview with a likeminded skeptic on website Climate Depot on Wednesday that a November victory by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may usher in years of government anti-pollution regulations and would further marginalize climate deniers.
“This election may be a tipping point in the climate debate,” said Coleman, who has called climate change “a myth.” Climate Depot promotes climate change denial.
The only scientific debate about climate change is what to do about it. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe human activity is causing global warming.
The Obama administration has pushed anti-pollution policies that Coleman claimed are unnecessary and too expensive, including the 2015 Paris climate accord that requires 195 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would force coal power plants to cut emissions. The EPA regulation is on hold after a Supreme Court ruling.
“If the next president does not overturn these regulations, U.S. citizens will suffer the consequences as energy prices soar over the next eight years,” Coleman said.
Clinton has set an ambitious environmental agenda, including a promise to power every home with renewable energy by 2027.
Coleman, who has no formal training in climate science, said he believes the planet is experiencing a natural cycle of heating up. Meteorologists have criticized Coleman’s views while The Weather Channel itself has said that evidence shows global warming is a manmade phenomenon.
Without a hint of irony, Coleman lamented to Climate Depot that politics, rather than scientific evidence, is driving the debate.
“Climate change, a scientific issue, has now totally become a political issue,” he said. “As a result, we skeptical climate scientists are perhaps about to be handed a major defeat in the climate debate.”
The view of Coleman, who is skeptical but is not a climate scientist, conflicts with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found in 2013 with 95 percent certainty that humans have caused global warming over the past 60 years by doing things like burning coal and other fossil fuels. A joint report in 2014 from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society also found that humans were the cause. A 2015 review of 4,014 climate change papers published by scientists found that 97.2 percent of the articles blamed mankind for contributing to global warming.