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A Q&A with Paul Douglas, the evangelical Christian Republican poster boy for climate change

MinnPost photo by Brian Lambert
Paul Douglas: "I’ve had a number of appearances on MSNBC lately, with Chris Hayes and Ed Schultz, to talk about extreme weather and to connect the dots with climate change. I’m sort of an albino unicorn to them."

Paul Douglas says he never intended to become a poster boy for climate change. But that’s what he is today, and the reasons why include the fact that his commercial news colleagues avoid the topic as they would an endorsement of pedophilia.

Watch your friendly local TV weathercast and you’ll notice the words “climate change” are almost never spoken, and never in terms of human causation, i.e. “anthropogenic,” to use science jargon.

In the absurdist universe where science has become a partisan political issue, the mere act of acknowledging the overwhelming consensus of climatologists on an advertising-supported broadcast medium guarantees a raging torrent of outrage. It’s as though climate deniers have complaint lines on speed dial. Sales departments like happy viewers, and if you can keep viewer happy by ignoring what may be the most impactful change of the 21st century, well, you know, sometimes you have to make concessions if you want to deliver shareholder value.

Of course Douglas, now 56, served plenty of time in the trenches with the ostriches, appearing first on KARE-TV from 1983 to 1994, then migrating to WBBM-TV in Chicago for three years before returning to the Twin Cities on WCCO-TV.

The industry-wide scale-back of on-air salaries — and Douglas drew a hefty paycheck — saw a red line drawn through his name in 2008. But he’s survived quite well. Of all the characters on the local TV landscape over the past quarter century, Douglas Paul Kruhoeffer is one of the most interesting. (“Paul Douglas,” according to legend, is a show-biz name laid on him in high school by his first radio boss.)

Indisputably smart, he is also a shrewd and imaginative entrepreneur, often months or years ahead of competitors in sussing out market opportunities, usually by applying the latest science to technological applications. A list of businesses he has started, sold or currently controls could fill both sides of a handout at one of his climate-science speaking appearances. His Media Logic Group, headquartered in Shorewood, lists seven separate companies currently under its umbrella. The (very) short version of what they’re up to now: “We’re pushing into personalization of weather for individuals and companies,” he said. “You can get Doppler [radar] on your watch now, you know.”

A year ago, at Edina High School, on a ridiculously foul winter night, I caught one of Douglas’s climate-change talks. Having watched the guy for years, I don’t know why I was impressed by the performance, but I was. Polished, authoritative and compelling, Douglas delivered a message that his TV colleagues avoid like a hot cup of ebola. In short: “It’s real,” he said of climate change. “Everyone’s better off preparing for it, and, if you’re so inclined, it’s worth stopping to consider the technologies and market opportunities that will come as we adjust to a changing climate.”

To heavily paraphrase his kicker line: “You don’t have to believe me. But if you doubt what I’m saying, check out what the military and the insurance industry are doing to prepare themselves. They’re not wallowing in doubt over whether it’s some Al Gore, libtard, gas-bagging hoax.”

Interested in drawing Douglas out on topics related to mass educating the public on climate change, I met with him at a coffee shop a few blocks from his Shorewood offices.

MinnPost: Like a lot of Minnesotans, I watch the local news mainly for weather. I love the cool graphics. But I never cease to be amazed that the words “climate change” are never uttered. Do you notice the same thing and why is that?

Paul Douglas: Yes. But the reality is that I don’t watch much local television anymore, now that I’m out of that business. I’m not immersed in it on a day-to-day basis. But when I do watch, I notice the same thing, and there are reasons for that. There has to be a desire on the part of news directors and producers to allocate the time to talk about this adequately. A sentence or two doesn’t cut it. But also, it really is like sticking your face in a buzz saw. Because, let’s face it, local television news, even network news, has devolved into a popularity contest, right? People vote with their remote controls every evening. Some vote on the basis of accuracy and good journalism. But most vote I would argue on whether they like the people presenting the news, weather or sports. This is hardly breaking news, and you certainly know this. Now, ‘CCO was pretty good about it [under then GM Jan McDaniel and news director Ted Canova]. But the problem, if you accept that television is fundamentally a popularity contest, is this: If you open your mouth and whisper the words “climate change” you’ll immediately piss off 30 percent of the audience. 

MP: Do you really think it’s that much? Or should I ask if it even matters if it’s as little as 5 percent?

PD: No. I don’t think it matters if it’s 5 percent or 35 percent.

MP: Well, my argument would be that there’s going to be 5 percent or 20 percent who’ll be pissed off at anything you say. So, if you’re being responsible about a pretty serious issue, don’t the people in charge of this game have to say, “We’re going to have to suck it up here and take a few hits, because this is important?”

PD: Well, I know that at ‘CCO I could spend all day responding to the professional deniers and the trolls who had nothing better to do than send me flame mail … .

MP: But why even respond? Why waste the time?

PD: Well, yeah. Most of these people don’t respond to evidence. It’s all about political identity, ideology and perversion of science. When people ask why is there so much controversy? Why is this some kind of litmus test for conservatism? I say, “Follow the money.” There’s trillions of dollars still in the ground and some of the richest corporations that have ever been want to go on harvesting those supplies. And frankly, a little public confusion may be a good thing. Questions keep flowing.

MP: I think most people will accept a debate over what to do …

PD: Right. You can debate policy, but don’t debate the science. You’re entitled to your opinion. You’re not entitled to make up your own facts. But with the Internet now we have this amazing echo chamber where you can find anything to support any conspiracy theory you can imagine, and I don’t care for most conspiracy theories. I think it’s intellectually lazy. But I didn’t set out to be the poster boy for climate change in Minnesota. But I think there’s a fundamental injustice that’s taken place because people have politicized this. I tell my conservative friends, “I didn’t realize this was a la carte conservatism.” If you’re conservative, you should be conservative across the board, including conserving the thing that sustains us. It’s a scientific issue, it’s a moral issue and it’s a spiritual issue. I’m writing a book now with a minister in Pennsylvania focusing on creation care and stewardship and that, as Christians, we are called to be stewards of God’s gift to us. If you accept the premise that this planet was divinely conceived and created why would you knowingly do anything to mess that up? 

MP: You mention the troll culture, and in my experience most of them are either under-educated or ill-informed. But among people who are educated and yet still resist the evidence of climate change, what is your experience with them? Do they truly disbelieve what they can see and read? Or are they simply reluctant to jump on the government regulation bandwagon?

PD: I think [Oklahoma Sen.] James Inhofe perfectly summarizes that state of mind. He says, “If I don’t accept the disease, I don’t have to accept the cure.” For a time Inhofe admitted that people were actually affecting the climate, until someone whispered in his ear what this might cost, and then he changed his tune. But my point, as a business owner on my fifth company, is that the markets will ultimately come up with most of the solutions, and it’s going to be bottom-up, not top-down. We need to find an effective way to put a price on carbon; a couple days ago even BP came out on record saying that, “Yes, it’s time to price carbon.” Once you put that signal into the marketplace the markets will come up with solutions, which will, I think, take the edge off some of the worst impacts and accelerate clean tech. I refuse to believe we have to pollute to keep the lights on and economies growing. I just don’t believe it.

MP: As an old hippie, Stewart Brand, [the guy behind “The Whole Earth Catalog”] was one of my thought leaders back in the day, and at 80-something he’s still going strong. But what’s interesting is he’s now an ardent proponent of third and fourth generation nuclear power … . 

PD: That’s the smaller models, with less waste?

MP: Yeah, fast-breeder, thorium fuel cycle. But my point is that while there’s reflexive denial among conservatives over climate change, liberals have their own sealed iron door when it comes to nuclear. Most have no awareness at all about the vast improvements that have been made and refuse to consider it even in the face of statistics on fossil fuel pollution, mortality rates and climate change. Brand’s point is that solar and wind, God bless them, are decades from producing energy on a scale to offset the power we’re getting from oil and coal.

PD: Everything should be on the table. There’s no limit to what we can do. We have the entrepreneurs. We have the technology. But what we don’t have is the political will.

MP: When you got out of the local TV gig, with success tied to popularity, did you worry at all that being a “poster boy” for climate change would have a negative impact on the businesses you created?

PD: No. But I try not to club people over the head with it. But where there is an opportunity to connect the dots, I usually take it. What I tell my conservative friends is that it’s a threat and an opportunity, and that there will be trillions of dollars made by companies trying to come up with solutions.

MP: And what’s their reaction? They don’t believe it?

PD: The smart ones understand it, and are out there looking for opportunities. Look at water. It’s not something anyone is taking for granted anymore. There are hundreds of new technologies being applied to cleaning water. Climate-change resistant infrastructure. Fortifying coastal architecture. This is going to affect everything we do, so I’m trying to put my money where my mouth is. Some of the work we do at my companies deals directly with weather extremes and helping people prepare for it long-term.  

MP: A straight forecasting question. I hear so much about how the “European model” is or has been so much more accurate than those created here in the States. Why is that? Are they using completely different information?

PD: Yup. Different physics and better initialization. They’ve done a much better job of using current observations to put better quality data into the model. It’s the old junk-in, junk-out maxim. The higher the resolution of the data you put in, the initialization, the better the outcome. But the Europeans, to their credit, have focused on one model. It’s called Integrated Forecast System, the IFS. They have one model. All the time and resources has gone into developing one that is as good as humanly possible. It’s a European Union consortium. Thirty countries. By contrast, here, NOAA has dozens and dozens of models. It’s kind of entrepreneurial. Let the best model win. Slightly different physics. A different model for tracking hurricanes. A different model for tracking global weather. Another for U.S. weather. Much of the challenge is in deciding which model to believe. We’re drowning in data.

MP: It sounds like you approve of the way the Europeans have done it.

PD: Well, I just go off results. It doesn’t make me happy to acknowledge that up until recently the Europeans have done a better job. But now NOAA just got $45 million from Congress. They upgraded two supercomputers.

MP: $45 million sounds like something out of the change jar.

PD: Yeah. The federal government could find that in the cushions. But I think it’ll help.

MP: I assume you run into old colleagues and competitors in the TV weather game. What do they say to you, particularly about not having to operate under the constraints they do? Never mentioning something so critically important as climate change?

PD: Well look, these are good, intelligent people. On occasion someone will tell me they envy me being out of the TV business. And some of them have told me in no uncertain terms that they’re not allowed to talk about it. But for me, well, I think the truth matters. There are some things more important than ratings, and life is not a popularity contest.

MP: Look, I don’t want to belabor the local TV thing. But in the context of who is struggling to accept climate change, I have to think that since the audience for local TV is generally older … 

PD: Yes.

MP: And, I suspect, less well-informed on complex scientific issues, it remains an important audience to educate properly, instead of pandering to partisan prejudices. It just strikes me as irresponsible.

PD: It’s a little analogous to talking about civil rights in the 1960s. But it is true the American public is not being well-informed. I’ll tell you, Brian, I don’t talk to many people under the age of 35 who question climate science. And of course, it’s not just climate change. Pick your topic. It’s also vaccines. GMO foods. People accept science up to the point it becomes political. It’s funny. I’ve had a number of appearances on MSNBC lately, with Chris Hayes and Ed Schultz, to talk about extreme weather and to connect the dots with climate change. I think they call because I’m the evangelical Christian Republican who’s concerned about such things. They view me as a curiosity. I think they have sympathy for me. I’m sort of an albino unicorn to them. But what I’m trying to do is convince people that acknowledging climate change doesn’t make you liberal. It makes you literate. I had a Tea Party guy at one my presentations recently. He got up and said, “For everything Paul just mentioned there’s another explanation.” And I had to say that, “You’re welcome to your opinion. You’re entitled to it. But at this point, debating climate science is roughly equivalent to debating gravity.” And the thing is, the “debate,” if you can call it that, really is just here in the United States. China gets it. The debate is over in Europe. Only here, with the powerful vested interests, the special interests and the money in play, is it still a “debate.”

With that we gathered our coats and walked out into the sunny chill. We said our good-byes. Douglas popped the electric door handles on his slightly dirty Tesla, hopped in and headed off to work.

Comments (50)

  1. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/04/2015 - 12:07 pm.

    I’ve translated a lot of corporate reports from Japanese

    companies, and every last one of them brags about how much it has cut its carbon emissions and industrial waste year by year.

    Now this may be “greenwashing” to a certain extent, but they will say things like “all our retail outlets now deliver by electric truck” or “we found new uses for the carbon-based waste that we used to just burn” or “we have built a housing development for our workers next door to the plant so that they don’t have to commute by car.”

    Traveling by train in rural areas this past summer, I noticed huge banks of solar panels along the Japan Sea coast.

    Speaking of trains, Japan keeps opening new high-speed Shinkansen rail lines, and its cities keep building new subway lines. I think Tokyo has reached saturation, but other cities are steadily building more lines.

    The U.S. seems to be in the mode of “This is what made us prosperous in the past; let’s not change.” The Japanese, despite their current problems, are in the mode of “These are potential future challenges. What can we do to prevent or alleviate them?”

  2. Submitted by Tom Karas on 03/04/2015 - 12:21 pm.

    formal request, please

    If at all possible, would MinnPost please rerun this fine interview once every month or so for added emphasis? Thanks so much.

  3. Submitted by Richard Bonde on 03/04/2015 - 12:27 pm.

    I wish that this article could be printed in newspapers throughout the region.

    • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/04/2015 - 02:10 pm.

      MinnPost has a long reach…

      In a few short years, this little online newspaper has become vital reading to Minnesota’s elected leaders, business leaders and other influential parties. With more than 45,000 followers on Twitter around the nation, posts on this site are seen by many more people than you might think.

  4. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/04/2015 - 01:02 pm.

    Ouch! That photo lighting!

    If Douglas ever sits down with MinnPost again, he would be wise to provide his own head shot, as I do.

  5. Submitted by Greg Laden on 03/04/2015 - 01:24 pm.

    Another interview

    Paul is great, and this is coming from an atheist hard core DFLer.

    I did an interview with him on Atheist Talk Radio last spring:

  6. Submitted by Steve Vigoren on 03/04/2015 - 02:37 pm.

    USA, the last holdout in Climate Change denying

    according to an evangelical christian republican… I am going to call that progress.

  7. Submitted by Gary Taylor on 03/04/2015 - 03:04 pm.

    What is Climate Change?

    If Climate Change is not global warming then what is it?

    If it is global warming, why was the name changed?

    • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/04/2015 - 04:22 pm.

      Paul will walk you through it….

      He speaks for nearly an hour to the “Green Divas” in the link on this site.

      But really, does it matter now what the title is? It’s here, it’s real, and it’s at least partly our fault. So let’s get past the labels and move forward, shall we?

    • Submitted by Stephen Sylvester on 03/04/2015 - 05:30 pm.

      climate change is the result of global warming

      The problem with calling it “global warming” is that an overall increase in temperature does not mean an across the board warming everywhere. In some cases global warming actually makes a specific place colder. More to the point, however, we experience global warming as severe fluctuations in climate, i.e. severe storms, drought, stubborn atypical weather patterns, etc. So it make sense to refer to the results we experience rather than the cause.

  8. Submitted by Stephen Sylvester on 03/04/2015 - 05:36 pm.

    It makes sense to call it climate change

    because that’s what we experience, whereas global warming is the cause. When one says “global warming” people can jump to the conclusion that it means everyplace is warmer. When that’s not the case then it seems global warming is not a fact. In reality, however, global warming may mean some places are actually colder. The cause is a whole earth reality, the effects are localized. The effects we experience because of global warming are more severe storms, atypical and persistent weather patterns, drought, etc. So, Climate Change is not global warming. It is, rather, the result of global warming.

    • Submitted by Gary Taylor on 03/04/2015 - 08:12 pm.

      Thanks that makes sense.

      “Climate Change is not global warming. It is, rather, the result of global warming.”

  9. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/04/2015 - 06:51 pm.

    You’d have to be supremely naive

    or supremely arrogant to believe that man can do anything to alter the earth’s climate. But given the usual suspects, you can take your pick and you’d be right.

    • Submitted by Tom Karas on 03/04/2015 - 09:07 pm.


      Humans have been on the planet for what, a million years or so depending on your theology of choice. But all during 999,850 the human race struggled to amount to a worldwide population of 2 billion. All those wars, famine, and disease took an appropriate toll, So it has only been over the last 150 years that-
      1- world population has tripled
      2- the industrial revolution got started that relied on the extraction of carbon based fuels.
      3- and those dang scientist pull up ice core data that shows a corresponding uptick of CO2 in the atmosphere that kind of started 150 years ago.
      So for a million years things were in equilibrium. But in a veritable snapshot of time we have created the ability to burn the majority of carbon that was safely stored underground to help with delivering a basic quality of life to an exploding population. Just consider that for a moment.
      Supremely ignorant to believe we could do such things to the planet in a short amount of time and NOT have an impact. Unless your theology gets in the way of course. Or ideology.
      Thats all. Be well.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/05/2015 - 07:55 am.

      One would have to be supremely ignorant not to recognize the way humans have changed the entire face of the world–virtually every habitable area of the earth shows the effect of human habitation and exploitation of resources.

      As for changing the atmosphere-ever hear about the hole in the ozone? Increased and then decreased due to human choices?

      Ever hear of “urban heat-islands”? Ever notice the diversion of weather systems around the heat-islands?

      While it may be difficult to conceive–all of the coal, oil and gas represents carbon gathered under ground for hundreds of millions of years, and we have re-released a significant portion of that carbon into the atmosphere in the last few centuries. But then it would require a grasp of basic science to make the link between increased CO2 and climate change.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/05/2015 - 08:35 am.

      Typical conservative mindset…

      ” It’s God’s will.” In reality, naive is being able to ignore the effects of seven billion people, massive deforestation and 200 years of an industrial revolution on the health of our ecosystem.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 09:47 am.

        And the eruption

        of one volcano, the wrath of one tsunami, or the devastation of one massive earthquake negates everything man and his omnipotent governments have built.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/05/2015 - 12:42 pm.

          Yeah, that’s kind of the point

          As we destroy our environment, so to shall it destroy us. We are already seeing the increase in violent and powerful storms, the rise of the seas, massive droughts, and warming of the oceans. Of course, ALL the instances you mention above are geological, perhaps intentionally, as a way of choosing disasters that humans cannot spur, yet hydraulic fracturing has already been shown to create small earthquakes in Ohio and Wisconsin, certainly two places known for their tectonic instability.

          What you say is right- nature CAN wipe us out, which is why we should be actively working to avoid scenarios that increase that danger.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/05/2015 - 09:04 am.


      Didn’t you serve on a nuclear submarine? Maybe one that carried SLBMs tipped with atomic warheads? Do you know what a nuclear winter is? That’s one, ‘low-hanging fruit’ instance where humans can quickly and easily effect the climate.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 05:05 pm.

        When that happens

        I’ll look you up and concede the point.

        The more relevant point would be “Given a nuclear winter, what would/could man do to fix it?’
        The answer: Nothing … other than to wait for nature to do it’s thing … just like this scenario.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/06/2015 - 08:54 am.

          The relevant point

          You’re evading the question. The more relevant point, as you put it, would be “Having created a nuclear winter, what would/could . . .”

    • Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 03/05/2015 - 10:25 am.

      Or supremely ignorant of basic physics and chemistry

      See this is the problem I have with many climate change deniers. Bold faced assertions, that have no basis in actual measurement or observations. Reliance on untestable hypotheses and supernatural influence.

      The basic science – greenhouse gases absorb heat reflected from the earths surface. That’s the basic chemistry of those molecules. It goes to the nature of the chemical bonds within the molecules and the orbital arrangement of atoms within those molecules. They are very good at absorbing radiation at the specific wavelengths of light reflected of the earths surface as it cools. Their ability to absorb radiation at specific wavelengths and then emit that radiation at different wavelengths is the basis for much of modern analytical chemistry. You can’t (unless you’re willfully ignorant) accept the results of laboratory chemical analysis – things like IR spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy – that are used for the development and testing of things like new commercial chemicals and pharmaceuticals and at the same time reject the science behind anthropogenic climate change which relies on exactly those same properties of greenhouse gas molecules.

      As to believing that man can do anything to alter climate – it’s already happened. I’m not talking about greenhouse gases and global warming. We already know that our current monoculture agricultural practices have dramatically altered the climate over large swaths of the planet. An example in the US is the long-term and persistent increase in humidity levels over much of the Midwest due to intensive corn production. No supernatural power cleared grasslands and forests to plant all that corn. People did. And that intensive farming of corn has had a measurable and noticeable impact on humidity levels.

      Finally since Denis raised the question of arrogance, I respectfully suggest that it takes a certain arrogance to stick to a position in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary or to assert that people basing their positions on a huge body of reproducible data and sound analysis are some how arrogant because they don’t share your religious views.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/07/2015 - 08:14 am.

        ” a huge body of reproducible data…”

        Well there’s your problem, right there. If warmers have collected such a body of data, it’s not been reproduced because these pseudo-scientists have refused to release it.

        Instead, they release reports of conclusions their flawed computer models have generated from the massaged, cherry picked data they refuse to share.

        It’s like sawing the lady in half; the proof is right there in front of your eyes, Joe! Don’t ask questions.

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 03/05/2015 - 12:45 pm.


      in the 80’s, there was quite a lot of talk about the ozone, and holes in the ozone – remember that. The funny thing is science knew what was causing these holes, CFC’s. Those propellents were then banned worldwide. Do you hear much about holes in the ozone today. So, you’re correct, man has no ability whatsoever to change the climate (except the ozone of course, but is that climate, who knows).

  10. Submitted by Bruce Young on 03/04/2015 - 07:53 pm.

    Skeptical of the Solutions

    Most of us “skeptics” are not denying that the climate may have changed. We are more inclined to believe, like Bjorn Lomborg, that even if the mechanism for warming could be determined we should not waste money on prescriptions that will have almost no effect on the outcome. Until we have have a model that is able to reasonably approximate the results we have seen over the last 18 years with no global temperature increase, we don’t have sufficient data go justify huge public expenditures on boondoggles like Solyndra and other unproven technologies.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 03/05/2015 - 05:23 pm.

      The idea that there has been no increase in recent years is simply false.

      2014 was the warmest year on record and nine out ten of the hottest years have occurred since 2000

      “Marotzke and Forster analyzed 114 models by comparing their predictions of annual global surface temperatures in 15 year periods from 1900-2012 against the actual temperature recorded for that year. When these predicted numbers were compared to the actual temperature, they found that the models did a pretty good job. For the most part, the predictions were +/- 0.3° C of the observed temperature. This effectively absolved the models of having fundamental flaws that overestimate the climate’s response to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

      “On the whole, the simulated trends agree with the observations,” Marotzke continued. “In particular, the observed trends are not skewed in any discernible way compared to the simulations.””

      A thorough debunking of some of Lomborg’s nonsense can be found here:

  11. Submitted by Cynthia Ahlgren on 03/04/2015 - 07:58 pm.

    Greed is good?

    Why is it that right-wing Republicans seem to be only motivated by the money? PD’s method of engaging them or persuading them of the truth of the science he is presenting is to distract them with the glint of potential profit to be made in climate change business opportunities. “What’s in it for me?” always seems to be their mantra. Are there no other reasons for them to face reality and do the right thing for future generations? This attitude is so juvenile and short-sighted! Business and the profit motive will be a powerful tool in confronting climate change, but more important will be community will and cooperation. (Just note the contrast between the superior “European model” of weather forecasting based on cooperation and the U.S. one based on competition and market forces as described by PD in the interview).

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 03/05/2015 - 10:12 am.

      It’s like training a dog . . .

      You have to find the “treat” that motivates them to act.

      Seriously, though – the approach is not without precedent. In the 70s, it was pretty hard to get U.S. companies to engage in any pollution reduction efforts because they saw it as simply an expense that would go against their bottom line.

      Finally, some savvy thinkers started reframing the problem and demonstrating how such measures as reducing waste throughout a product’s lifecycle and recycling (often for cash!) where possible generated greater profits than the old wasteful polluting ways. And nowadays, companies include pollution reduction efforts in their quarterly reports as one of their measures of profitability.

      It may not work for the reasons you and I would prefer, but as long as it works, that’s really the most important thing.

  12. Submitted by Lynnell Mickelsen on 03/04/2015 - 11:04 pm.

    Great interview, Brian!

    and I admire Paul Douglas’ integrity.

  13. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/05/2015 - 08:55 am.

    Real conservative

    I have to admit, I’m jealous that Mr. Lambert gets to talk to Mr. Douglas and I don’t. Maybe it’s because I decided not to go into journalism (I like to be able to pay the bills!). Anyway, Paul Douglas is the type of conservative I wish they all were. With a real conscience and a balanced approach to economics. Of course, he’s a real conservative. What we see on TV and in Congress, for the most part, are radicals. Their positions aren’t conservative. I’m not sure they’re even positions. They’re the result of pandering to the dark side of human nature (and their religions) to keep getting elected, motivated by the desire to line their pockets and the pockets of their friends.

    Back to Mr. Douglas. I stopped watching ‘CCO when both he and Don Shelby were booted. That being said, I am grateful that both have been able to broaden their horizons after leaving TV. They’ve both been able to say stuff that they couldn’t before and we all need to hear.

  14. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 03/05/2015 - 09:04 am.

    Costs and income

    “For a time Inhofe admitted that people were actually affecting the climate, until someone whispered in his ear what this might cost, and then he changed his tune.” – Likewise, when otherwise rational people saw the grant money if they sang the “planet has a fever” tune, they jumped in.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/05/2015 - 11:02 am.


      The grants are issued based on the work done, not the results that are made. The scientists follow the data to the conclusion, not rig the data to fit the results they want.

      If all the climate change studies were rigged, all it would take is someone on the coal industry payroll to go through them, easily see where the data was jiggered, and it would be game over. The fact that no one has done this even after decades of trying tells me that the scientists are on the up-and-up.

  15. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/05/2015 - 09:41 am.

    You all do realize, science aside, as an Evangelical Paul also most likely believes global warming fulfills prophesy, right?

    I think most good reporters would have asked that question.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/05/2015 - 01:00 pm.


      Can we say “tangent?”

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/05/2015 - 01:07 pm.

      And surely, you do realize, religion aside, that as a meteorologist, Paul understands the science behind global warming, right? You know… what the article is about.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/05/2015 - 02:08 pm.

      “Science aside”

      I think that’s where the discussion stops. Regardless of how one might interpret eschatological prophecies, the science supports global warming.

      Incidentally, does Mr. Douglas ever say he sees warming as a good thing, or the will of God to be accepted with passivity?

      • Submitted by jason myron on 03/05/2015 - 02:56 pm.

        I read his blog daily, RB

        Not once have I read any sort of hint that humanity should just cash it in…quite the opposite, actually.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/06/2015 - 07:55 am.

        The psuedo-science supports global warming, RB. Come to a consensus it has. Scientists that, you know, have faith in the scientific method, can’t agree on much of anything yet as reliable data is inconclusive and often contrary.

        Take, for example, this bit of new data from NASA:
        “Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches New Record Maximum”

        Hot here, cold over there…pretty much what the planet has been doing since it was formed. You can almost taste the panic in the confused excuses being floated in the accompanying text.

        I’m not an Evangelical RB, so I don’t know if they see the end times as good or bad, just that they believe it neigh. Don’t know if accepting it passively is the way to roll or not. As I said, if he was going to make an issue of Douglas’ religion, a good reporter would have delved into it.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/06/2015 - 08:53 am.

          Pseudo-science takes selective bits of data and refuses to consider it in the larger overall context. Pseudo-science starts with the conclusion it wants to reach for political or cultural reasons and constructs its hypotheses based on those conclusions. Pseudo-science ignores evidence that does not support its conclusions, or deliberately distorts the available evidence. Pseudo-science also tries to use ridicule when it cannot deflect serious arguments, or it constructs ad hominem talking points in an attempt to change the subject or look clever.

          You were saying?

        • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 03/06/2015 - 12:21 pm.

          From your link:

          “The new Antarctic sea ice record reflects the diversity and complexity of Earth’s environments, said NASA researchers. Claire Parkinson, a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has referred to changes in sea ice coverage as a microcosm of global climate change. Just as the temperatures in some regions of the planet are colder than average, even in our warming world, Antarctic sea ice has been increasing and bucking the overall trend of ice loss.”

          Not sure how you came up with the idea that your link supports your position against the existence of climate change. I guess it helps if you read the whole article rather than just the title . . . . . .

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/06/2015 - 03:22 pm.

            Right, Pat. That’s what I was alluding to when I wrote:

            “Hot here, cold over there…pretty much what the planet has been doing since it was formed. You can almost taste the panic in the confused excuses being floated in the accompanying text.”

            I guess it helps if you read the whole comment.

            • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 03/06/2015 - 05:26 pm.

              I did read the whole comment

              You must have missed the part of the quote which reads “has referred to changes in sea ice coverage as a microcosm of global climate change.”

              The article presents information SUPPORTING the existence of climate change although deniers like to trot out the “expanding Antarctic ice” thing as refuting it.

              There was no panic or confusion in the article. Just scientists doing their job.

  16. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/05/2015 - 06:44 pm.

    The most trusted man in America

    On September 11, 1972, Cronkite cited scientists’ predictions that there was a “new ice age” coming. He called that prediction from British scientist Hubert Lamb “a bit of bad news.”

    “But then there is some good news,” Cronkite continued. “That while the weather may be just a little colder in the immediate years to come, the full extent of the new ice age won’t be reached for 10,000 years. And if you can stand any more good news, even then it won’t be as bad as the last ice age 60,000 years ago. Then New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, were under 5,000 feet of ice. Presumably no traffic moved and school was let out for the day. And that’s the way it is, Monday, September 11, 1972.”

    Lamb, the scientist Cronkite cited, was no fringe scientist. He founded the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain. When he died, the CRU director called him “the greatest climatologist of his time,” according to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. He was also credited with establishing “climate change as a serious research subject.”

    Unlike scientists often quoted by the media today, GWPF said that Lamb viewed the Earth’s climate as changing constantly and naturally.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/05/2015 - 08:30 pm.

      And one day, Columbus sailed “in the wrong direction” thinking he was heading to India, but eventually he found something else.

      And oddly enough, today virtually everyone accepts that other place as reality.

      Science and exploration are sometimes that way.

      So was Columbus a schmuck?

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/06/2015 - 07:46 am.

      Numbers Game

      You find one scientist 43 years ago who supported global cooling given the best data at that time. Today, however, you ignore thousands of scientists who have terabytes of new data that don’t support your position.

      Some might call that cherry picking data. Count me as one of those people.

      Also, you built up a straw man argument by claiming that scientists don’t acknowledge the climate is changing constantly and naturally. That is simply not true and to claim so is dishonest. They do indeed realize that the climate changes through existing natural conditions. What they’re saying is it is ALSO changing through the actions of Mankind.

  17. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/08/2015 - 10:24 am.

    Da Vinci & Einstein

    The standard view in 14-1500s was the world is flat, E=mc2, theory of relativity, there are many technological wonders of the world, good and bad, Many did not believe Da Vinci or Einstein, many probably still do not, Probably folks still thinking the trip to the moon was a staged hoax, we have dead zones in the gulf of Mexico, air pollution, water pollution, etc. much caused by mans actions, some also in reversal from man’s recognition and action, I make no claim to understand or be an expert at them all. What is very clear however, there are folks that do not have the capacity, or chose not to understand, a well documented reality since the beginning of time.
    If you don’t like the science of the Climate change folks that’s fine, its one thing to say their math & science is wrong, it is something totally different to not show them where to correct said bad math and science. Did they take the 2nd derivative or integrate, when they should have applied the jerk derivative?

  18. Submitted by Rosalie O'Brien on 03/08/2015 - 10:35 am.

    “climate science”???

    Such important subject matter, and a good interview, but: come on, Paul, how can you speak of “questioning climate science,” and “debating climate science”? Are they getting to you?

    I thought that science, rather than being an absolutist system of belief (and utterly separate from religious belief, which is faith-based), was a constantly self-correcting process by which we try to show that various hypotheses are false, thereby enabling us to reject those that don’t stand up to scrutiny and, over time, to build a body of knowledge. We could call it a system of provisional knowledge, yes?

    So if we want to question whether this planet is warming, or if we want to talk about the rate of warming, or the causes of changes in that rate, or whether we ought to be doing anything about them, let’s do so. But why would we allow ourselves to be pushed backward into using evasive language, so that even the questions aren’t clear?

    I understand that the term “global warming” is in disfavor, but I think it’s important not to allow evasions and euphemisms to obscure the subjects of discussion. Please don’t allow the word “science” also to become anathema–or worse, facilitate that happening!

  19. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/08/2015 - 11:03 am.

    I trust PD…no questions here, but…

    Rich man, poor man, god-man, chief…PD is a reliable voice among many even beyond the borders of our provincial plain?

    But don’t forget the Poet with empty pockets most of the time and no fundamentalist truths to invest in his futures market? I listen to the early voices on the ‘cave wall’ and otherwise, yes sir..

    Try the portioned words from a poem; wise words of the late,great poet Tom McGrath some time ago..

    .”Nuclear Winter”// After the first terror/people/ were more helpful to each other”-as in a blizzard>”//…when the snow fell in June/we felt a kind of pride in our ‘unusual weather’/… Until the hunger of the next year/ then we came to our senses/ And began to kill each other”

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