Why a former 60 Minutes producer launched a primetime climate change series: ‘This is absolutely the biggest story out there’

Television journalists don’t give much airtime to climate change. In all of 2015, American broadcast networks only collectively devoted 146 minutes to climate stories — a 5 percent drop from 2014.

And that’s why David Gelber and Joel Bach decided to launch their own series on climate change.

Gelber was a producer at 60 Minutes for 25 years. Bach worked at the news magazine for seven years. At the urging of Bach, the two started working on more climate-related stories. And it changed their careers.

“The more we did, the more we sort of realized that this is absolutely the biggest story out there — there’s just nothing that touches this,” said Gelber, in an interview on Warm Regards.

They both started pushing for more climate stories. “We became kind of nags to our bosses,” said Gelber.

When they both realized there was a limit to climate coverage, they assembled a group of producers and celebrities and set off on their own — creating “Years of Living Dangerously,” a gripping climate series that is now in its second season.

“What’s different from [the stories] we did at 60 Minutes is that each of these correspondents — whether it’s Sigourney Weaver or Jack Black or Dave Letterman — the go on kind of a journey. And they learn things as they go,” said Gelber.

In this week’s podcast, Gelber talks about the origin of the series and the difficulties in getting the audience to care about the “biggest story out there.”

Listen:

Warm Regards is supported by Arcadia Power, the first company to give you a clean energy choice on your monthly power bill. Arcadia’s online platform provides clean energy options to homeowners and renters in all 50 states. Reduce your impact and get 4 free LED light bulbs sent to your door when you sign up: arcadiapower.com/warmregards.

Resources:

Why Gelber and his team are pushing a carbon tax.

Andy remembers Jacquelyn’s colleague, Gordon Hamilton.

Watch the first episode of “Years” here.

Written by

A podcast about life on the warming planet. Hosted by @JacquelynGill and @DrRamBio. Produced by @612to651

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