So when the Obama administration published a huge climate assessment on Tuesday, it turned to these trusted figures to help get the word out. Eight local and national weathercasters were invited to the White House to interview the president about the new climate report.
“This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now,” Obama told Al Roker of the Today show. “Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.”
And to Megan Glaros of CBS This Morning, Obama said, “It’s having an impact on agriculture, it’s having an impact on our tourism … There are real costs, not in the distant future but right now.”
Communications experts think that engaging the meteorologists was a smart move, as Politico reports:
Weather forecasters can be “phenomenal educators” to the public about climate change, said Edward Maibach, who directs the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
“Every day when they’re on the air, they’re taking complicated scientific information and finding a way to make it simple and make it enjoyable,” Maibach said.
“They’re not as trusted as climate scientists,” he said. “But the public can’t even name one climate scientist while most of the public knows at least one weathercaster.”
Watch Obama talk with ABC News’ Ginger Zee:
And watch Al Roker excitedly prep for his one-on-one with the president:
— Al Roker (@alroker) May 6, 2014
Obama tries weather outreach on climate, Politico.
US meteorologists question Obama on climate change – and Boko Haram, The Guardian.
Obama to Al Roker: Climate change is a problem affecting Americans 'right now', Today.