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James Hibberd

Heated Debate

July 11, 2006 3:21 PM

Weather Channel President Debora Wilson announced an initiative for the network: Climate Watch, including programming and online content about global warming. The efforts will include a new broadband channel called One—representing the one degree of global warming that has already occurred.   

“[The initiative is] to bring a greater understanding of climate change and of the effects of climate change on our earth,” she said. “Global warming and climate change are two phrases that were not all that relevant until a few months ago and, like climate itself, that is changing very quickly.” 

A couple of critics voiced a concern about the program: While cable journalists labored to present both sides, global warming is an issue where the facts overwhelmingly support that idea that global warming is very real threat. So is it doing viewers a disservice to present global warming as a two-sided issue? 

The panelists acknowledged that most cable coverage of global warming has devolved into screaming matches, often with one science expert versus a political contrarian, and vowed to avoid such theatrics. “As far as the basic phenomena, there really isn’t any disagreement,” said Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s foremost climate expert.  While acknowledging there are debates about various minor aspects of global warming, Executive VP and General Manager Wonya Lucas assured, “We have one viewpoint and we stand with the scientific community … but also listen to the debate among the fringes of the issue.”      


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