COP21: French TV Presenter and Climate Change Sceptic Tells of Curbs on Free Expression




One month before Paris hosts a major climate change conference— where the prestige and political future of President François Holland is on the line — the state-owned broadcaster France Televisions has fired its top weather presenter … for writing a sceptical book about climate change.

Philippe Verdier France 2’s long standing weather presenter opens dismissal letter October 21 2015 (Credit screen grab)

Philippe Verdier France 2’s long standing weather presenter opens dismissal letter October 21 2015 (Credit screen grab)

The UK-based Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), a forum for climate change sceptics, headlined news of the sacking: “Back To The Dark Ages: France’s Top Weatherman Fired For Writing A Book”.

Published to YouTube on Oct 31, 2015: Philippe Verdier ouvre sa lettre de licenciement / Philippe Verdier opens his letter of dismissal.

As our earlier report on the suspension of the weatherman for publishing the book noted, COP21 will brook no dissidence mainly because the Socialist government has invested vast amounts of time and considerable sums of money on ensuring it is not another Flopenhagen: “…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.

“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‘. “

Among more than 80 world leaders invited to the 21st UN Climate Change Conference, or COP21 Paris 2015, the biggest international gathering in France in 67 years, are US President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

According to the official website established for the event: “The 37.5 ha site houses 60 buildings with meeting rooms, a media centre for 3,000 journalists, medical facilities, shops, restaurants, a bank and a post office; while the sensitive issue of the some 21,000 tons of greenhouse gases the site will produce will be offset by ecology projects.

France with its strong traditions of defending freedom of expression (see the reactions to the Charlie Hebdo murders earlier this year), appears to be blotting its liberty copy book with what some observers consider to be a high-handed response.

Story: Ken Pottinger
editorial@french-news-online.com

 

 



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