Speak Out at Your Peril if You’re a Climate Sceptic in Paris – COP21 Brooks No Dissent

Paris, preparing to host a UN conference on climate change in less than 50 days, is desperately hoping it won’t become a second Flopenhagen, the derisory epithet coined by French diplomats after the 2010 Copenhagen conference dismally failed to deliver.

Philippe Verdier France 2’s long standing weather presenter and author of a climate sceptic book has been threatened with the sack

While the COP21 Paris conference — which runs from November 30 to December 11 — has so far won greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments from 146 countries, domestic climate sceptics and critics should beware; speak out of turn, question the received wisdom, raise a doubt, and you may be very harshly dealt with.

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After all this conference is a key political jamboree hosted by France’s most unpopular president since WWII (YouGov October poll shows only 17% of French voters approve of his presidency) who is desperately hoping it will boost his slim chances of re-election in 2017.

Indeed back in August Socialist President François Holland made clear that the price of this, his hoped-for re-election ticket, was indeed high: “There will be no agreement at the international climate conference in Paris in December if industrialised countries do not pay the 100 billion euros needed annually to finance the transition to renewable energy in developing countries”, he told the French English-language broadcaster  RFI.

Of course it is not only the president who is putting his reputation on the line here, but so also are the human-induced climate change religionists around the globe, powerful green lobbies, several in France , eco-charities, big green-obsessed business, former US presidents, a host of scientists who insist “human-induced climate change science is settled” (a statement those who hold the scientific method dear may consider a perversion unworthy of true scientists), educationalists, much of the mainstream media and even the Roman Catholic Church (priests at the Toulouse St Etienne cathedral this week offered up prayers for the decision-makers at the Paris COP21 conference). The machine that drives the crusade against human-induced climate change is large, well-funded, powerful and, say some critics, profoundly unscientific.

Indeed with as many as 50,000 people from 195 countries expected to attend talks aimed at forging a UN pact on climate change, much face is at stake.

As Myron Ebell, Director of the Washington-based Center for Energy and Environment noted in this piece: “It’s been a hard four years for international climate negotiations since the debacle in Copenhagen in December 2009. At least 40,000 people from around the world flew into Copenhagen to encourage world leaders to save the planet from the carbon dioxide emissions produced by, among other things, aeroplanes. It didn’t work out that way. In the first place, the tens of thousands of NGO delegates from environmental groups were excluded when the 130 or so prime ministers and presidents arrived with their entourages because the convention centre could hold fewer than 20,000 people; and so the activists, who after all provide the political push behind the global warming agenda, had to be content with a massive protest rally in the streets (as snow fell gently on their stocking caps). Not even the magic provided by America’s then new president, Barack Obama, could save the negotiations from imploding. And as Rupert Darwall recounts in his outstanding book, The Age of Global Warming: a History (Quartet, £25), it was not only a major setback for the negotiating process. It was also a humiliation for the West and particularly for the European Union, administered by China and India”.

So there was little surprise then when Philippe Verdier, one of the nation’s top TV weather presenters, was summarily removed from his job by the state-owned France 2 channel for climate change heresy: that is daring to criticise presidential climatic assumptions and ambitions and publishing a book — Climat Investigation (Climate Investigation –published by Ring) — outlining sceptical views on the “science” underlying the arguments used by those driving the climate change agenda – which despite all the unremitting claims to the contrary does not yet enjoy an overwhelming global consensus.


Paris-based foreign correspondent Anne Elisabeth Moutet first tweeted the alarm now picked up by foreign media: 


In his book clearly aimed at cashing in on the Paris climate fest Philippe Verdier, who denies being a climate sceptic, warns readers: “We are being held hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – this is a war machine aimed at ensuring we remain fearful” … he accuses some scientists of being “manipulated and politicised” while climatologists and political leaders he suggests are using dodgy data to perpetuate a climate crusade. His views are developed further in an open letter addressed to President François Hollande: “I barely perceive in your words any sincerity, any intention of acting truly for the environment in a measured and constructive manner. In your hands, climate is but one more card to be played among many others. In two months time, France welcomes the COP21, the conference of nations united for the climate. Your political strategy team has told you that it will all come to nothing, like the 20 before it. So why continue to pretend to be saving the planet? You, president of the Republic, cannot support the ultra-politicised scientists of the IPCC, the corporate lobbyists, the NGO environmental groups, nor the self-proclaimed apostles of the new religion of climate.”

According to this report: Verdier was reportedly inspired to write his book out of disgust after Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, had earlier summoned France’s weathermen and asked them to mention “climate chaos” in their forecasts.

“I was horrified by this discourse,” Mr Verdier told Les Inrockuptibles magazine. Eight days later, Mr Fabius appeared on the front cover of a magazine posing as a weatherman above the headline: “500 days to save the planet.”

Mr Verdier added: “If a minister decides he is Mr Weatherman, then Mr Weatherman can also express himself on the subject in a lucid manner”.

Cue cold fury and fast reaction in Paris. France’s favourite weather man is now on ‘long leave’ and it is unclear when, if ever, he will be allowed to return to his long-standing job presenting the weather to a nightly audience of five million viewers. In addition his book was panned by the leftwing Le Monde newspaper which accused the author of “serious factual errors”.

Surprisingly there has been but a muted outcry at this clear effort to intimidate a writer in a country that fiercely defends free expression. Indeed it is only 10 months ago that President Hollande gathered world leaders at the head of a unity march that saw 3 million people turn out in Paris and across the country to defend free speech, freedom of expression and French values, hours after 17 people were slaughtered during three days of deadly attacks in Paris by Islamist extremists. The terrorists hit the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and Jewish shoppers in a kosher supermarket in Paris.

Furthermore as climate change delegations finalise preparations for a conference designed to agree contested measures on human-induced climate change that opponents claim will impoverish the developed world, sinister legal developments are under way in London to obtain an international court ruling making climate change scepticism a criminal offence. The seriousness of this development cannot be overemphasised; the part humans play in climate change — change which has been occurring for billions of years and will continue to do so in the future — remains disputed in scientific circles. Here Judith Curry, a professor of climatology at Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States gives testimony in this regard before the US Congress on 15th April, 2015.

Curry changed from being mainstream to sceptic after looking at the evidence:

The polemic surrounding frank and open debate in France over controversial issues concerns not just climate change but also the often radical views of the nation’s favourite philosophers.

Jean-François Kahn writing last week in the leftwing Marianne magazine asked (apropos a row over the views of the French philosopher Michel Onfray): “Is it still possible to hold a proper debate in France, can holders of opposing views still confront each other — the basic principle of democratic pluralism after all – without resorting to labelling those with whom they disagree as devils, excommunicants or an anathema?”

Marianne’s cover about Cop21 and lobbies

His remarks appeared in the same issue of the magazine where long extracts from Verdier’s book were published under the headline: “How the lobbies have already sewn it all up”.

Here Marianne writer Jean Claude Jaillete asked: “Will the global climate really be discussed at the December conference in Paris by politicians, businessmen and NGOS?”

He provides his own answer: “Nothing could be less certain. These kinds of get-together have become business talking shops. For instance Air France, EDF, Renault — who are among COP21 sponsors — are classified among the top industrial polluters in France … Philippe Verdier one of France’s most respected weather presenters and a writer specialised in climate, claims that in his long experience of similar gatherings, these conferences have become business or trade fairs … where most of those participating come to boost their business affairs … little is discussed about the future of the planet by such people and the real scientists are either very discreet or absent … this 21st climate conference in Paris will be no different despite all the drama whipped up by the French government … and the alarmist statements made by President Hollande (at the UN on September 28) to the effect that COP21 is the world’s last chance…”

According to London’s Daily Telegraph: “The 330-page book also controversially contains a chapter on the ‘positive results’ of climate change in France, one of the countries predicted to be the least affected by rising temperatures. ‘It’s politically incorrect and taboo to vaunt the merits of climate change because there are some,’ he writes, citing warmer weather attracting tourists, lower death rates and electricity bills in mild winters, and better wine and champagne vintages. Asked whether he had permission from his employer to release the book, he said: ‘I don’t think management liked it, let’s be honest’.”

Marianne’s Jaillete continues: “In his book Verdier quoted a confidential strategy document distributed by Prime Minister Manuel Valls in November 2014, which reportedly said: ‘It is almost certain that there will be no progress on the Kyoto Protocol framework after the Paris climate summit’.”

Such frankness was meant to remain private and helps explain the anger which the book has provoked in Paris.


Verdier goes further and writes of what he calls the ‘corruption’ surrounding the operations of “the various lobbyists who pack these climate conferences”. He says lobbyists for all of kinds of interest groups have “turned the heart of the climate talks system into a gangrenous organ”.

But however appalling the treatment is of France’s favourite Monsieur Météo it somewhat pales into insignificance against the reported attempts at sinister manipulation of international law by activist UK lawyers and judges.

According to James Delingpole, a well-known climate change sceptic, writer, broadcaster and author who picked up and amplified original reporting by Donna Laframboise, a Canadian blogger: “leading, influential, international lawyers (are) proposing to reject the scientific method, bypass democracy and permanently shut down the climate debate by declaring ‘global warming’ illegal under international law”.

In his recent report in the UK weekly The Spectator, Delingpole writes: “The setting was a rather dull-sounding symposium Lord Justice Carnwath of the Supreme Court organised at King’s College London called ‘Adjudicating the Future: Climate Change and the Rule of Law’. We don’t know the names of the ‘leading judges, lawyers and legal academics’ from 11 nations who attended because the organisers won’t disclose them … the opening speeches (are) viewable online and described by Laframboise as ‘among the most terrifying 90 minutes I’ve ever witnessed’. If you’ve the stomach to sit through the faux-judicious burblings, you’ll see what she means.”

As Donna Laframboise notes in one of a series of reports on this ominous twist in the climate change controversy: “Last week, a three-day conference took place in the UK attended by a ‘key group of the world’s leading judges, lawyers and legal academics.’ Pompously titled Adjudicating the Future: Climate Change and the Rule of Law, its Twitter hashtag was #ClimateCourts. Some of its events were held in the very room in which UK Supreme Court decisions are delivered.

“The Supreme Court has a YouTube channel where you can watch law professor Philippe Sands argue, at that conference, that the International Court of Justice (which he describes as ‘the principal judicial organ of the United Nations’) has two choices: “consign itself to irrelevance” or join the fight against climate change … Science academies need to inform lawyers such as Philippe Sands that the courts are not – and can never be – adjudicators of scientific truth. Going down this path will bring both science and the law into disrepute.”

Watch London lawyer Philippe Sands, whose presentation begins 9 minutes in and ends shortly past 56 minutes, here:

Donna Laframboise has a compendium of reports on this unseemly effort at manipulating international law: “Robert Carnwath became a UK Supreme Court Justice in May 2012. A month later, he flew to Brazil for the brazenly political Rio+20 UN environment conference. By his own account, he was among ‘150 judges, prosecutors, public auditors and enforcement agencies from some 60 countries’ who took part in an event organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). These 150 individuals used the occasion to issue a political statement advising the ‘world community at large’ that environmental law ‘reflects our best hope for the future of our planet’.

“The statement tells us what should and must happen, and talks about an ‘urgent need’ to consider putting UNEP – an unelected and wholly unaccountable UN bureaucracy – in charge of the worldwide environmental ‘policy and law-making agenda’. Six months later, UNEP announced that Lord Carnwath was one of nine members of it’s newly-created International Advisory Council for the Advancement of Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability. That’s right. A judge who’s supposed to be neutral, disinterested, and entirely above the political fray is part of a UN body intent on manipulating the legal system for a particular purpose.”

Her website offers numerous similar efforts to suppress free speech when it comes to that expressed by voices dissenting on climate change. So let’s finish with this: “Climate activists have redefined the venerable concept of free speech. According to them, it means the polar opposite of what John Stuart Mill famously wrote about. Welcome to the You’re in league with the devil and therefore have no right to be heard argument. It goes like this: My view of climate issues is pure and true. When I talk about these matters I’m engaging in free speech. Other climate views are evil and untrue. People who express them are spreading lies and propaganda – which isn’t free speech at all.
Exhibit #1 comes from a Greenpeace website that, for years, has dismissed any notion that climate skeptics might have a point: ‘Freedom of speech does not apply to misinformation and propaganda’ it proclaims”.

verdier climate book

With any luck another Flopenhagen in Paris in 50 days time might just be the final nail in the coffin of a costly, undemocratic, authoritarian circus that is clearly out of hand.

Story: Ken Pottinger
(Note: this article was updated October 17 to include the phrase ‘human-induced’ before some instances of the phrase ‘climate change’ to clarify where the differences lie between those who doubt humans are the main cause of climate change and those who hold climate change is aggravated by mankind’s actions and particularly by ‘carbon emissions’. A video clip of testimony by a climatologist before the US Congress earlier this year was also added.)


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