November 4, 2015
French weatherman, fired after writing book denying climate change, forecasts long spell of inactivity
by Simon Reichley
A French weatherman has been fired from his job after publishing a book questioning climate change, according to reports from The Guardian and France 24.
Philippe Verdier, weatherman at France 2, a subsidiary channel of France Televisions, a state-owned broadcast television network, was placed on indefinite leave in October, after taking personal time off to promote the publication of his book Climate Investigation, published by Editions RING.
Verdier himself broke the news in a pre-recorded video, released last Saturday, in which he opens and reads from his letter of dismissal while the book trailer for Climate Investigation runs on a television, out of focus in the background. The video was produced by Editions RING and features prominently on their home page, along with the book trailer.
As the video begins, Verdier explains:
My book Climate Investigation was published one month ago. It got me banned from being on the air. I received this letter this morning and decided to open it in front of you as it concerns everybody — in the name of freedom of expression and freedom of information for all.
He then reads the letter, and afterwards silently looks to the camera, as text in English and French fades in and out of the frame, saying, “Phillippe Verdier, journalist weatherman fired by France Televisions one month before COP 21.” (COP 21 is the UN’s conference on climate change being held in Paris from November 30th through December 11th.)
According to Verdier’s online biography, he’s been forecasting the weather since 1992, when he began “presenting the marine weather forecast” for Radio France Internationale. It remains unclear how this experience makes him qualified to diagnose the long term stability of the global climate system, especially as weather is not climate.
However, this has been no deterrent to Verdier, who, in addition to publishing a book which portrays the phenomenon of global warming as a “conspiracy theory,” has written an open letter questioning climate change to French president François Hollande, and mocking COP 21, which he told Hollande “won’t solve anything.”
Which probably didn’t endear him to his employer either. Which, you could say, he should have predicted.
Simon Reichley is assistant to the publishers and office manager at Melville House.