Important news from the world’s top meteorologist

Summary: After years of tacit cooperation with climate activists, the first major climate agency may have begun to turn against their misuse of climate science. If so, this would be a big event in the climate debate. As seen in this interview with the head of the WMO. He has much to say that we need to hear.

Scientists are turning against climate activists and their scare tactics.

Little Girl Crying - Dreamstime-121361027
ID 121361027 © Ekaterina Fedorova | Dreamstime.

Excerpts from “Climate change is not yet out of control,
but the debate is

Interview with Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the WMO.
By Pekka Lähteenmäki in the Finnish weekly magazine Talouselämä, Sept 6.
From Finnish to English via Google Translate, so only roughly accurate!
WHO = World Meteorological Organization (their website).

{Taalas has five children.} Many people wonder if we should even have children. Will the offspring live as adults on a ruined planet? Every child and adult is a source of emissions. …

“Now we should put on the ice and ponder what is really the solution to this problem,” Taalas says on the terrace of his home in Nuuksio, Espoo. {He} does not see the basis for the apocalyptic predictions that are now in circulation. “There will be no end of this world, the world will only become gray. For some of the planet, living conditions are getting harder, but people have been living in difficult conditions.”

In his view, the Finnish debate and reporting on climate change have become too distressing. “The Finnish media atmosphere has been a cause for concern. The latest thing was that children are a negative thing. For example, I am concerned about young mothers who are living under many burdens. This adds to their load.”

“If anxiety leads to action, it is a positive thing. If it leads to a deterioration in the quality of life, that’s a bad thing.”

According to him, the solution to climate change does not require an individual to have an ascetic life or give up child labor. “The fight against climate change can be done in good spirits. Big things are done at the state level. If you start living the life of a scheme, the world will not be saved.” …

“Climate change is solved by private investment, not just public money. I believe in win-win issues. That it is economically viable to invest in climate-friendly solutions. Consumers can benefit economically and even though healthy food or exercise.” …

“The media partially feeds {the fear}. Forests and food, for example, are important issues in combating climate change, but they are not the core. Now they have gained a lot of weight.”

What would be most important now? “In Finland, as in the world, the key to solving the problem is to give up fossil energy. Abandonment of oil, coal, natural gas, and peat in Finland. That is the key.” Still, Taalas doesn’t want to downplay the importance of, say, vegetarian food. 70% of the cultivated area goes to feed, ie meat production. Feeding the growing world population requires change. “Young people have an interest in making positive decisions. You can see it from your own children. When they cook, we usually eat vegetarian food.” …

The next UN climate summit is in New York in September. “I am leading the conference science group, where we will summarize the latest scientific findings and evaluate new initiatives in different countries to combat and adapt to climate change. The aim is to raise the level of ambition in reducing emissions. If it cannot be lifted, we will move towards a 3-5 degree warming at the end of the century.” …”We also need to focus on adapting to climate change.”

Until a few years ago, climate scientists had a fierce debate with so-called skeptics who disputed the foundations and results of climate research. This has diminished, but experts are now being challenged from the other side, according to Taalas. “Experts are under attack that we should be much more radical. There are threats and extremists at the end of the world.” …“The IPCC reports are read like the Bible, seeking certain verses that justify their own extremes. It has the features of religious extremism.” …

He also does not believe that climate policy should or should be widespread into prohibitions or some form of a command economy. “In a global sense, the problem is being overcome by investing in non-fossil solutions for power generation, transport, and buildings. Land use and changes in the nutritional economy can further enhance this. The public sector has to create the framework, but the resources come mainly from elsewhere.”

The fight against climate change does not require a lower standard of living. “Economically and technically, we can do the fight. That was the message of the October IPCC report. Living with adverse effects is estimated to be 20 times more expensive than the investments needed to overcome the problem.” …

“If we look at the state of the world, excluding climate change and population growth, then we are in the best of mankind’s time in many ways: the economic, health and, for example, the position of women will never be better. …Global climate change and population growth are things that aren’t well under control, but they can also be solved.”

Update: Taalas posted a statement at the WMO website re-iterating the key points from this interview. Especially “the science-based approach is undermined when facts are taken out of context to justify extreme measures in the name of climate action..”


Editor’s afterword

This excerpt gives only some of the great material in this interview. I recommend reading it in full (it is gated). This is the first push-back I have seen against the climate alarmists’ exaggerations and misrepresentations of science (see The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science). Until now the major climate agencies have been complicit by their silence. They have been activists’ enablers.

What changed?

After the publication in 2013 of the IPCC’s AR5 report, many US climate activists and some climate scientists criticized the IPCC as “too conservative” (e.g., see Inside Climate NewsThe Daily Climate, and Yale’s Environment 360). With activists’ adoption of extreme doomster views, such as the Extinction Rebellion, they moved into open opposition to mainstream science. See this year’s hot leftist book: Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy (summary at Scientific American: “Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change“).

The pushback began against activists blaming AGW for every severe hurricane. First, with NOAA’s statement on hurricanes and climate change. It said that there was no clear trend in frequency or strength. Second, with the recent publication of two papers by the distinguished international group of scientists of the WMO Task Team on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change Assessment: “Detection and Attribution” and “Projected Response to Anthropogenic Warming.” They found no signal showing a human influence on hurricanes – yet. See Dr. Curry’s analysis of these.

Now the head of one of the world’s major climate agencies has taken a public stand against activists. This might be a major inflection point in the so-far dysfunctional debate about the public policy response to climate change. Perhaps we will take the simple first step: prepare for the repeat of past extreme weather instead of bickering about predictions of climate change.

Petteri Taalas
Photo from the WMO website.

About Petteri Taalas

Taalas is the highest ranked Finn in the UN. He was recently elected to run the United Nations Special Organization for Weather, Climate and Water (WMO).

He has a PhD in Meteorology, been an author of over 50 peer-reviewed papers on atmospheric chemistry and climate change. He has been a senior manager of science agencies since 2003. See his bios at the WMO. and at Wikipedia.

For More Information

Ideas! See my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Hat tip on this story to the Epoch Times.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see the keys to understanding climate change. Also, see all posts about uncertainties in climate science, and especially these …

  1. Importantclimate scientists can restart the climate change debate – & win.
  2. Activists hope that fake news about droughts will win.
  3. Listening to climate doomsters makes our situation worse.
  4. How fast is the world warming? Is it burning?
  5. Look at the trends in extreme weather & see the state of the world.
  6. How journalists helped wreck the climate debate.

Alarmists don’t want you to read this book

To learn more about the state of climate change see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr., prof at U of CO – Boulder’s Center for Science and Policy Research (2018).

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

22 thoughts on “Important news from the world’s top meteorologist”

  1. I wonder how the WMO and IPCC can control the NGO’s they have been using for PR purposes? After all, they weren’t anticipating the old adages such as “One should not complain of fleas who sleeps with dogs;” or “The end doesn’t justify the means; the means become the end.”

  2. This seems to me to be a presumptive close on the entire debate. As far as I am aware those skeptical of rapid warming and especially climate models remain critical of those arguing for temperature increase at or above 2 degrees Centigrade by 2100. The article says “I am leading the conference science group, where we will summarize the latest scientific findings and evaluate new initiatives in different countries to combat and adapt to climate change. The aim is to raise the level of ambition in reducing emissions. If it cannot be lifted, we will move towards a 3-5 degree warming at the end of the century.”
    Presumably that is 3-5 degrees Centigrade – given that the respondent is Finnish and a scientist. If so, that is much higher than current observational data suggests – both ground records and satellite records. A source for the claim would be nice.

    1. Bernie,

      The climate policy debate is not binary, like a baseball game – although Left and Right often treat it as such, cheering like demented fans for “their side.” It is, like most things in life, more complex.

      “As far as I am aware those skeptical of rapid warming …”

      True, but that isn’t the subject of this post. I mean, you must have noticed that from my summary, the S-G’s text, and my Afterword.

      “If it cannot be lifted, we will move towards a 3-5 degree warming at the end of the century.”

      He doesn’t say what “move towards” means. He didn’t say “we will be at 3-5°C by 2100.” He is a long-time leader of major political institutions, and has mastered pol-speak (it’s a requirement to survive at that level). Vagueness is a key element to avoid unintended controversy. Three to five degree C is possible under RCPs 6.0 to RCP8.5 – the two worst scenarios used in RCP8.5. Of course, such long-term forecasts of climate models are somewhat speculative – since their predictions have not been validated over such long time horizons.

  3. “The Finnish media atmosphere has been a cause for concern. The latest thing was that children are a negative thing. For example, I am concerned about young mothers who are living under many burdens. This adds to their load.”

    This is an opening to understanding. The thing to ask is why Finnish women are being told to refrain from having children. As for that matter the activists are telling British women also.

    Suppose they did. How much effect would that have on global temperatures? None.

    Ask yourself why the activist movement keeps doing this – that is, keeps advocating actions which will have no effect on the supposed problem. Ask yourself also why they continually refuse to advocate actions which would have effects on the supposed problem.

    Knowingly or not, the activists are following the Alinsky model – issues are to be targeted and actions demanded not because they will have an effect, and not because they are achievable, but precisely because they are not achievable and could not have any effects.

    Why then would you activate for them? Because your aim is not to affect the climate or CO2 emissions. Your aim is to organize. You want to make demands or proposals which will not be implemented because you can then keep demanding. You are trying to radicalize the population, not to lower emissions.

    If the activists were serious about lowering or eliminating CO2 emissions, they would be focusing on Chinese emissions, Chinese coal mining and consumption, Chinese construction of coal fired generating plants around the world. But any suggestion of doing this is met by a chorus of abuse. Ask yourself why. Or they might be focusing on abolishing the auto industry worldwide. But they are not. Ask why.

    The answer again is that the aim is not to lower emissions, its to radicalize. Its not to radicalize the Chinese either, its to radicalize the locals. So you make local demands, regardless of whether these will have any effect on the global supposed problem, and you don’t demand things that will get the locals upset, like taking away their cars.

    Unfortunately governments then yield intellectually to the pressure, and invent solutions in line with the activist demand, and waste fortunes on them. So we have, in the UK, the conversion of the Drax power station to wood pellets shipped in from the US. This isn’t something the activists demanded, its the bright idea of some idiots in the civil service and power industry. Needless to say it has no effect on UK emissions, it probably increases them if anything. And it does not figure in Extinction Rebellion’s agitprop. But its due to an extension of the ER type woke thinking.

    The damage from this form of agitation is not only that it focuses on ineffective and unimplementable solutions to imaginary problems. Its that the irrational style of thinking extends to really large projects in the real world and leads to irrational approaches to them.

    If you look at the Brexit debate in the UK through this prism you will see lots of similar examples. The overall phenomenon of activism in relation to issues is very common.

    Its not about the science. Thinking it is, is the mistake lots of skeptics make.

    1. “When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power.”

      -Alston Chase in In a Dark Wood: The Fight Over Forests and the Myths of Nature (2001).

      Alston Chase has written widely on natural history, the environment, and animal welfare. He is the author of Playing God in Yellowstone, In a Dark Wood, and Harvard and the Unabomber.

  4. This bit needs to be pushed out to major media outlets this week to counter the Columbia Journalism Review’s Climate News Cabal which starts its week-long climate propaganda push next week.

    1. Kip,

      I set up a google alert for “petteri taalas” two days ago and have a grand total of four alerts. One of them is from LK’s article here…
      Don’t look for this to go anywhere, anytime soon. Truth doesn’t go far in the MSM with this scheme, imo.

      1. Ron,

        That is an important point. Much of alarmists’ power comes from their near-total control of the news media (Fox doesn’t do much to oppose climate alarmists). As Robert Heinlein said in his great The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

        “And that, senorita, is the weakness of our Cause. Communications. Those goons were not important. But crucially important is that it lay with the Warden, not with us, to decide whether the story should be told. To a revolutionist, communications are a sine-qua-non.”

      2. Larry,

        Google search is another problem when it comes to climate change/global warming bias. Skeptics are buried two or more pages back, most of the time.

      3. Ron ==> True, that. But we do have readers (many sub-rosa) who do have regular access to the opinion pages of major magazines and newspapers. My injunction was aimed at them.

      1. Larry,

        It’s interesting to watch with Google search/alerts this most important story go nowhere. And the few places it goes, it gets twisted like BBC did.
        I’m not surprised. Good science corrupted by politicians and the MSM.

      2. Larry,

        Hindustin Times: “Hottest summer takes 1,453 lives in France; India’s heatwave toll 94” – “2019 has been an exceptionally hot year across the world with record melting of Arctic Ice and record numbers of heatwaves across the world.”

        “WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said July temperature has rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at local, national and global level. “The extraordinary heat was accompanied by dramatic ice melt in Greenland, in the Arctic and on European glaciers,” he said, terming it a reality of climate change, not “science fiction”.”

      3. Ron,

        Thanks for that news. Expect to see a lot more of this in the next year or so. Whatever the weather, it will be extreme climate change. The short length of weather records allows for easy setting of new records, esp if previous records are ignored (as they so often are).

  5. Climate change has been going on for eons long before mankind even evolved. Current climate change is taking place so slowly that it takes networks of very sophisticated sensors decades to even detect it. One must not mix up true global climate change with weather cycles that are part of the current climate.

    Based on the paleo climate record and the work done with models, one can conclude that the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. It is all a matter of science.

    In Al Gore’s first movie, he shows a chart of CO2 and temperature for the past 650,000 years. The claim is that CO2 acts as a temperature control knob. But if you look at the data in higher resolution one finds that CO2 follows temperature such that higher temperatures cause more CO2 to enter the atmosphere. The reason is straight forward. As the oceans warm they release CO2 because warm water cannot hold as much CO2 as cooler waters. Al pointed out the fact that CO2 levels are today much higher than have ever been over the past 650.000 years. If CO2 acted as the control knob it should be a heck of a lot hotter that it actually is but it is not. Al Gore’s chart instead of providing evidence that more CO2 in the atmosphere causes warming, his charts provide no such evidence.

    There is the issue of “scientific consensus”. There is no such thing. All claims of a scientific consensus regarding the AGW conjecture is pure speculation. Scientists never registered and then voted on the AGW conjecture. But even if they had, such a consensus would be meaningless because science is not a democracy. The laws of science are not some sort of legislation. Scientific theories are not validated by a voting process.

    The AGW conjecture sounds plausible at first but a more detailed investigation reveals that the AGW conjecture is based on only partial science and is full of holes. For example, the AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace cases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s atmosphere, or anywhere else in the solar system for that mater. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction as well. So Greta needs to know that human caused global warming because of adding CO2 to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is science fiction. There may be many good reasons to be conserving on the use of fossil fuels but climate change is not one of them.

    1. Haas,

      Almost every single thing in your comment is either factually wrong – or in opposition to the opinion of almost every climate scientist.

      It’s astonishing that after 30 years of public debate about climate policy we still have denialists tossing chaff into the debate. But then vaccines were discovered over 200 years ago and we still have anti-vaxers.

  6. Pingback: “Climate change is not yet out of control, but the debate is” – NEWS FROM UNDERGROUND

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