• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Climate sceptic' French weatherman taken off air

Ben McPartland · 15 Oct 2015, 10:32

Published: 15 Oct 2015 10:32 GMT+02:00

Philippe Verdier, has become a well known face in France thanks to his nightly weather bulletins to around five million French people on the channel France 2.

The “Monsieur Météo” was conspicuous by his absence this week after apparently being sent on a “forced holiday” by his bosses, with his future as a weatherman up in the air, as he stands accused of being a climate sceptic.

Verdier has been taken off air after releasing a book accusing the world’s leading climatologists and political leaders of using dodgy data to convince the public about climate change.

In a promotional video Verdier says: “Every night I address five million French people to talk to you about the wind, the clouds and the sun.

“And yet there is something important, very important that I haven’t been able to tell you, because it’s neither the time nor the place to do so," he said.

“We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear," says Verdier who denies he is a climate sceptic.

Verdier says there are scientists who are “manipulated and politicised… who are serving only their image,” a “blinded” media and “commercial NGOs and religions looking for new creeds”.

That was enough to persuade Verdier’s bosses to take him off air. While rumours of what punishment he could face swirl around the French media, France 2 has so far refused to comment.

“He’s on holiday,” the channel said, without specifying when he would return.

For his part Verdier told RTL radio "I received a letter telling me not to come. I'm in shock."

His book, heavily criticised by Le Monde newspaper for being full of “errors,” also includes a chapter about the positive impact of climate change on France, in which he evokes better wine harvests and lower death rates in winter and warmer weather attracting tourists.

In it he writes: “We are undoubtedly on a plateau in terms of warming and the cyclical variability of the climate doesn’t not allow us to envisage if the natural rhythm will tomorrow lead us towards a fall, a stagnation or a rise (in temperature).”

SEE ALSO: What France will look like in the year 2050

Perhaps Verdier would have got away with his outspoken statement if France and the French government hadn’t been in the middle of preparing for the crucial UN climate change conference in December.

The success of the conference is seen as vital not just to François Hollande’s presidency but to the image of France itself.

Story continues below…

Much of the work that goes into preparing for the conference is being carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organisation that Verdier has taken particular umbrage against.

Verdier also wrote a critical letter to Hollande, lambasting the president for pretending to save the planet.

It was published by a French news site which further riled his bosses at France 2.

Verdier accepts that he has caused problems for his employer given that the state owns France Televisions.

He said he was moved to write the book after France’s Foreign Minister held a meeting of weather presenters and asked them to stress climate change in the broadcasts.

“What is shameful is this pressure placed on us to say that if we don’t hurry, it’ll be the apocalypse,” he said.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Top court set to probe France's burqini ban
Photo: AFP

Is the burqini ban legal? France will soon find out.

Heatwave warnings extended as France keeps sizzling
Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Summer is back, and Paris is among the areas hit the hardest.

200 street signs in France mysteriously 'blacked out'
Photo: thecrazyfilmgirl/Flickr

Town officials have come to a dead end.

Woman fined for wearing headscarf on Cannes beach
File photo: Loic Venance/AFP

Headscarves should not be included under the recent burqini ban, but one woman says she was fined and insulted for wearing the hijab.

Paris tourism has lost €750 million since terror attacks
Tourists outside the Louvre. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

A Paris tourist chief has called it "an industrial catastrophe".

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes
Photo: AFP

A Sudanese man has died in Calais after a fight with other refugees.

Three held in France for plotting terror attacks
Police officers during an anti-terrorism operation last month. Photo: AFP

Authorities have arrested seven people this month with links to terrorist networks, three of whom were planning attacks.

Majority in France against immigration
Migrants at an aid centre outside the Calais 'Jungle' camp. Photo: AFP

A new survey shows the French have some of the most negative views towards immigration worldwide.

Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Chilling out by the Eiffel Tower? Why not. Photo: AFP

Paris is on heatwave alert, but you don't have to sit at home in front of the electric fan.

French tribunal confirms burqini ban as 'necessary'
Models wear the burqini. Photo: Saled Khan/AFP

A tribunal has upheld a burqini ban in a Riviera resort, describing it as "necessary, appropriate and proportionate".

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
Society
23 subtle signs you'll never quite master French
2,729
jobs available