Weather Channel Founder: Polar Bears Have Increased Because "Eskimos" Are Now "More Civilized"

San Diego TV Station Airs Heartland Institute Climate Denial Infomercial

Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

Anchorman

The founder of the Weather Channel, now a local weatherman on a San Diego television station, dedicated nearly half an hour to climate change misinformation, including claiming that there are more polar bears because "Eskimos ... have now become more civilized."

John Coleman, who is a weatherman for the independent news station KUSI News after being "forced" out of the Weather Channel, said in a segment on climate change this week that polar bear populations have increased because "the Eskimos no longer kill the polar bears for the meat and furs in order to stay alive, it's -- we have now become more civilized in our Eskimo populations around the poles."

In fact, the majority of polar bear populations for which there are sufficient data are declining. Those population levels are somewhat higher than in the 1970s thanks to a ban on polar bear hunting with limited exceptions for traditional hunting by Inuit populations. However, despite conservative media claims to the contrary, this recovery in no way negates the ongoing existential threat that global warming poses to polar bear populations.

In the segment, Coleman -- who has accused NASA climate researchers of "lying" about temperature records -- hosted four paid associates of the Heartland Institute, which has received funding from the fossil fuel industry and once compared those who accept climate science to the "Unabomber." Coleman called Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast, who claimed in the 1990s that moderate smoking has "few, if any, adverse health effects" while simultaneously receiving money from tobacco giants Philip Morris, "a hero of mine."

In addition to his "hero" and Jim Lakely, a Heartland spokesman, Coleman hosted Fred Singer and Bob Carter, who have been paid by the Heartland Institute and other organizations with fossil fuel funding. Coleman labeled them "distinguished -- and I mean truly distinguished and important -- climate scientists" and "absolute experts," even though between the two of them, they have only published a single peer-reviewed article casting doubt on manmade global warming. Both have repeated popular climate myths (Singer called climate change "bunk" and Carter said "carbon dioxide emissions are an environmental benefice [sic] ... it is plant food").

Coleman is not the only media figure to promote the discredited Heartland Institute. In fact Lakely told Coleman that in an "enormous victory," the group secured coverage from The Washington Post and The New York Times for a recent report that one climate scientist said contains "demonstrable garbage and falsehoods."

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