The head of the world’s foremost weather science organization issued a surprise rebuke to climate alarmists in remarks published on Sept. 6, marking what may be, according to some experts, one of the most significant developments in the climate debate in decades.
Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), told the Talouselämä magazine in Finland that he disagrees with doomsday climate extremists who call for radical action to prevent a purported apocalypse.
“Now we should stay calm and ponder what is really the solution to this problem,” Taalas said. “It is not going to be the end of the world. The world is just becoming more challenging. In parts of the globe, living conditions are becoming worse, but people have survived in harsh conditions.”
The remarks came as a “total surprise,” especially coming from Talaas, who has himself made alarmist statements about the climate, according to Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.
“I think they’re beginning to realize that the whole agenda has been hijacked by extremists and undermining the economy and the social stability of European countries,” Peiser told The Epoch Times.
Talaas said that establishment meteorological scientists are under increasing assault from radical climate alarmists who are attempting to move the mainstream scientific community in a radical direction. He expressed specific concern with some of the solutions promoted by climate alarmists, including calls for couples to have no more children.
“While climate skepticism has become less of an issue, now we are being challenged from the other side. Climate experts have been attacked by these people and they claim that we should be much more radical. They are doomsters and extremists. They make threats,” Taalas said.
“The latest idea is that children are a negative thing. I am worried for young mothers, who are already under much pressure. This will only add to their burden.”
According to Myron Ebell, the chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition—an organization that challenges climate alarmism—Talaas’s remarks are significant because he heads the WMO. The WMO is one of the two organizations that founded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. Since being formed, the IPCC has become the leading institution worldwide to promote the theory that human activity contributes to global warming.
“It’s a major international organization. It has a lot of credibility and for the head of it to say that the alarmists have gone too far is important or potentially important,” Ebell said.
“We’ll have to see what the impact is and also what the blowback is,” he added. “Because, in the past, when people have stepped out of line in a more realistic or skeptical direction, the alarmist establishment has been pretty effective—and often in a very brutal way—in punishing or forcing people back into line.”
While Taalas limited his examples in the climate debate to Finland, some of the extremism Ebell references is akin to the rhetoric employed by climate alarmists in the United States. Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the key faces of that movement. The New York congresswoman regularly promotes the theory that the world will enter an irreversible downward spiral toward apocalypse unless the United States takes radical action to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in 12 years.
The 12-year deadline Ocasio-Cortez references comes from a special report by the IPCC, which states that “global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.” The report concludes that risks of long-lasting or irreversible impact on the earth’s ecosystems are higher if warming breaches the 1.5-degree mark by 2030.
Talaas pointed out that climate extremists are selectively picking out facts from the IPCC reports to fit their narrative.
“The IPCC reports have been read in a similar way to the Bible: you try to find certain pieces or sections from which you try to justify your extreme views. This resembles religious extremism,” Taalas said.
Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore called Talaas’s remarks the “biggest crack in the alarmist narrative for a long time.”
“The meteorologists are real scientists and probably fed up with Greta, Mann, Gore, & AOC catastrophists. Good on him,” Moore wrote on Twitter on Sept. 7. AOC is the acronym commonly used to refer to Ocasio-Cortez. The three others named in the message are Michael Mann, a climatologist; Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish student; and Al Gore, the former vice president.
The vast majority of the climate models the IPCC uses as the basis for its predictions have incorrectly forecast higher temperatures repeatedly. According to an analysis by the Cato Institute, 105 of the 108 models predicted a higher surface temperature for the period between 1998 and 2014 than the temperature actually recorded.
The IPCC has previously admitted that climate models cannot be used to accurately predict long-term changes in the climate.
“In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible,” the IPCC’s 2018 report states.
Peiser said he sent Talaas’s comments to a list of 5,000 media contacts, but none have picked up the story. Peiser’s non-profit posted the first translation of the comments, some of which were adopted for this article after verification.
“I think people are utterly shocked by the language that he is using,” Peiser said. “He talks about a religious cult. He talks about people being extremists and doomsters. It’s quite staggering. The language that he uses and the signal that he’s sending out is ‘We are afraid of these extremists. They are destroying our society.’”