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Meteorologist Eric Holthaus’ vow to never to fly again draws praise, criticism

Eric Holthaus Eric Holthaus

Meteorologist and science writer Eric Holthaus lit up Twitter last Friday when he announced he was never flying again due to the perils of climate change. Strongly motivated to reduce his carbon footprint, the decision was especially significant as Holthaus is a frequent flyer and owns a pilot license.

Holthaus, who formerly wrote a weather column for the Wall Street Journal and now covers weather and climate issues for the Atlantic’s new online Web initiative Quartz, said the sobering conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change motivated the decision.

Andrew Freedman, a science writer for Climate Central, says Holthaus’ emotion-filled reaction to the report compromises his objectivity in writing about the issue.



But Holthaus says his “walk the walk” response to the dire consequences of climate change strengthens rather than weakens his credibility when writing about the issue.

Holthaus’ actions earned the respect of Dave Tolleris, a Richmond-based meteorologist skeptical of catastrophic climate change scenarios.

“Eric is willing to make that commitment and take the steps to change his lifestyle and not be a hypocrite,” Tolleris said. “While I do not agree with his pessimistic view [on climate change], I do think that earns some points from me.”

On the other hand, Fox News commentator Greg Gutfeld questioned Holthaus’ motives. “I’m calling BS on this drama queen,” Gutfeld said. “This is what dooms environmentalism – dishonest hysterics who put drama before data.”

For the most part, Holthaus’ vow has impressed and inspired his Twitter followers. Some examples:


What’s your view on Holthaus? Vote in our poll (note: there are two questions):

Disclaimer: Both Holthaus and Freedman are personal friends and both have contributed (in different capacities) to the Capital Weather Gang.

Related links:

Why I’m never flying again (Quartz)

Holthaus twitter feed

Freedman Twitter feed

One meteorologist explains why he won’t fly again (Salon)

The Meteorologist’s Meltdown: Eric Holthaus on Deciding to Quit Flying (Daily Beast)

Who is Eric Holthaus, and why did he give up flying today? (Houston Chronicle)

Gutfeld Reacts to Meteorologist Quitting Air Travel Over Climate Report (Fox News)

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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Matt Rogers · October 1, 2013

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