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Meteorologist turns heads with proposed naming strategy for heat waves: 'I realize what I'm doing is controversial'

"It's a brilliant way to … get the message to the public."

Meteorologist Guy Walton called out oil companies for naming heat waves after them.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Guy Walton, an outspoken meteorologist, is making a point about the Earth's rising temperature and its cause by naming recent heat waves after oil companies, the Guardian reported.

This summer has seen a rash of heat waves worldwide, with more likely to follow in the next five years.

According to the Guardian, experts around the globe have started naming these heat waves, similarly to how meteorologists name tropical storms. Spanish authorities started using personal names such as Zoe, while an Italian website is drawing from Roman mythology with names like Charon and Cerberus.

However, Walton is being both more direct and more controversial, with the first three heat waves he has covered this year being named Amoco, BP, and Chevron — all names taken from oil companies, the Guardian reported.

Walton told the Guardian that these names are "a naming and shaming thing."

"I realize what I'm doing is controversial and corporate media will want to steer clear of it, but people need to be riled up," he said. "I don't think we need to pull any punches. If it causes consternation, so be it."

Walton's reasoning is easy to follow: Dangerous heat waves are getting more common because the world is heating up. The world is heating up because of air pollution that traps the sun's heat. And a huge amount of the air pollution that enters the atmosphere each year comes from oil and the fuels made from it, such as gasoline.

"We are in a climate emergency, and the fossil fuel industry is to blame," psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon, executive director of the Climate Emergency Fund, told the Guardian. "Any kind of extreme weather should be named after the fossil fuel companies. It's a brilliant way to bypass media silence and denial, and get the message to the public."

According to the Guardian, Walton plans to continue his campaign. He has 20 more oil and gas companies to go, and when he runs out, he will move on to coal companies, another major polluter.

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