As Jim Gandy, chief meteorologist at WLTX Columbia, puts it, "I don't live in a red state-I live in a dark red state."
Yet Gandy saw Columbia-the South Carolina capital, located smack dab in the middle of the state-as the ideal setting in which to educate viewers about the perils of temperatures that are creeping up at what he
believes to be an alarming rate in Columbia and around the globe.
offers on-air segments labeled "Climate Matters" a few times a month on the CBS affiliate, along with regularly updated Web dispatches on the topic.
Red state or blue, Gandy
is the exception when it comes to local TV meteorologists tackling climate change headon.
sought to serve Columbia viewers by localizing the ultimate global issue.
spoke about how hotter summers affect the local poison ivy plants (stock up on the calamine lotion), and colder winters jeopardize the peach crop (if the trend continues, Gandy
said, peaches will no longer be commercially viable in South Carolina).
modeled summer temps in Columbia, showing that "extreme heat" days of 101 degrees or more-which happened on three days in 2010, will be around 10 days in 2040.
"If anybody needs to learn about climate change, it's this market," said Gandy
Maibach has worked with Gandy on his Climate Matters "modules" and has researched climate change TV reporting extensively.
The backlash to Gandy's climate change reporting in "dark red" Columbia never really materialized-no ratings dips, no ad pullouts, minimal complaints, said GM O'Dell.
was interviewed Feb. 19 on NPR for a segment titled "Forecasting Climate With a Chance of Backlash," supporter Sarah Bradley Davis credited him on Facebook for "bringing climate science" to South Carolina.
is pleased to see the forecasted storm has blown over.
"We were prepared for a lot of opposition-that there was going to be people with strong beliefs coming out of the woodwork to say we are wrong," he