French TV weatherman sacked for book questioning 'hype' over climate change

Weatherman Philippe Verdier was sacked from his job at France 2 for his book questioning "hype" over climate change.

Story highlights

  • A French weatherman has been fired for his book about "hype" over climate change
  • He claims the French benefit from aspects of global warming, such as better wine harvests
  • His sacking comes a month ahead of a major U.N. climate change conference in Paris

(CNN)A weatherman for French state television has been fired for writing a book questioning what he calls the "hype" around climate change.

Philippe Verdier, a meteorologist for France 2, announced his sacking in an online video released Saturday, in which he opened his letter of dismissal before the camera.
    In the clip, he says that his book, "Climat Investigation" (Climate Investigation) had earlier led to him being "banned from being on the air, and I received this letter today.
    "I have decided to open it with you, in front of you, as it concerns everybody, in the name of freedom of speech."
    A statement on the screen then says he was fired by his employer, "one month before COP 21." COP21, the U.N. climate change conference, begins in Paris on November 30, seeking a worldwide agreement to curb global warming.
    France Televisions, which operates France 2, did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

    'Benefits' of climate change

    Verdier, who rejects the label "climate skeptic," was initially taken off the air last month following a publicity tour for the book.
    The book claims that scientists, politicians and the environmental lobby had generated a "hype" around climate change that amounted to a "global scandal," and made the French unnecessarily fearful.
    In it, he also questioned the findings of leading climate scientists, and argued that France actually benefited from a number of advantages linked to a warming climate, such as better weather and improved grape harvests.
    The book has drawn sharp criticism in France, with newspaper Le Monde accusing Verdier of promoting a "conspiracy theory," and describing in the article what it said were his errors.
    But journalists have also expressed discomfort at his treatment by France 2. Paris-based journalist Pascal Praud, writing for RTL, wrote that the weatherman's firing was the result of a "fatwa" that was "outrageous, unjust and ridiculous."
    Verdier also received support from climate skeptics following his suspension, with a group setting up a Change.org petition calling for his reinstatement at France 2. The petition has received more than 18,000 signatures.