Television’s Weather Channel wades into climate debate
NEW YORK (AP) — The Weather Channel is moving beyond cold fronts and heat waves to wade into the politics of climate change, with a special planned for early next month that includes interviews with nine presidential candidates on the topic.
The campaign’s most prominent climate change skeptic — President Donald Trump — declined an invitation to participate.
The hour-long special, scheduled to debut Nov. 7, interviews candidates at various sites chosen to illustrate the impact of climate change. Sen. Bernie Sanders, for example, speaks at the site of a devastating California wildfire and Sen. Kamala Harris along a flood-prone area of the Mississippi River.
The Weather Channel has done specials on the impact of climate change in Alaska and along the Louisiana coast, for example, but this is the first time the network has gotten involved directly in a political campaign.
“It gets the conversation going in a big way,” said Rick Knabb, the network’s on-air hurricane expert and former director of the National Hurricane Center. He and meteorologist Stephanie Abrams traded off on the interviews.
The Weather Channel wanted to do the special through its own scientific lens, said Nora Zimmett, the network’s senior vice president for content and programming. Although other networks inquired about joining and doing a town hall-style event, TWC turned them down.
“We didn’t want to have a food fight about whose plan is better,” she said.