A veteran meteorologist in Iowa has resigned from his job after receiving a death threat and a series of harassing emails over his reporting on climate change.
Chris Gloninger, who had been the chief meteorologist at KCCI, a CBS affiliate in Des Moines, announced on Wednesday that he was leaving television to focus on his health, family and combating the climate crisis in another way.
“After a death threat stemming from my climate coverage last year and resulting in PTSD, in addition to family health issues, I’ve decided to begin this journey *now*,” he wrote on Twitter. “I take immense pride in having educated the public about the impacts of climate change during my career.”
Gloninger said he would join a consulting organization as a senior scientist, where he would continue to work on climate change issues. He had been reporting on the weather and the climate crisis for 18 years, and had created Boston’s first climate change series and produced broadcast specials on how climate change affects every area of life.
The death threat came from a viewer named Danny Hancock, who accused Gloninger of peddling a “liberal conspiracy theory” because of his interest in global climate trends. Hancock pleaded guilty and was fined $180.75 for third-degree harassment.
Gloninger’s experience is not an isolated one. Climate change has become a highly politicized topic, despite hundreds of global scientists concluding it is “unequivocal” that humans have caused the crisis and that “widespread and rapid changes” have already occurred around the world.
Climate communicators, journalists, meteorologists and national weather services have reported an increase in harassment, threats and abuse for connecting extreme weather events to climate change.
In France, for instance, meteorologists have been accused of overstating the country’s drought and heat. In Spain and Australia, national weather services have faced online attacks from conspiracy theorists.
Gloninger said he was not giving up on his passion for informing the public about the climate crisis.
– Iowa meteorologist Chris Gloninger quits 18-year career after death threat over climate coverage, CBS News, June 22, 2023
– TV meteorologist quits after receiving threats and harassment over climate change coverage, CNN, June 23, 2023
– Iowa meteorologist quitting TV, cites PTSD from death threat over climate change coverage, MSN, June 23, 2023
– Meteorologist Resigns Due to PTSD from Climate Change Coverage Threats, People, June 23, 2023