• France's news in English

'Climate sceptic' French weatherman taken off air

Ben McPartland · 15 Oct 2015, 10:32

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available