Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of the WMO, told Talouselämä magazine that he called for a calm and rational approach to the climate debate, and disagreed with those who are promoting end-of-the-world scenarios.
“Now we should stay calm and ponder what is really the solution to this problem,” Taalas told Talouselämä magazine. “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.”
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The WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. Since then, the IPCC has become the leading institution worldwide to promote the theory that human activity contributes to global warming.
Taalas said that while skepticism of the human-activity theory has abated in recent years, climate scientists are under increasing assault from radical climate extremists.
“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 head of the WMO noted that the media in his country are creating additional anxiety.
“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,” Taalas said.
While Taalas limited his examples to the climate debate to Finland, some of the extremism he references is akin to the rhetoric employed by climate alarmists in the United States. Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the face of that movement. The New York congresswoman regularly promoted the theory that the world will end in 12 years unless the United States takes radical action to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions.
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.
Talaas pointed out that climate extremists are selectively picking out facts from the IPCC reports to fit their narrative. For example, Ocasio-Cortez and the movement she represents often refer to the 12-year deadline to end the use of fossil fuels. That 12-year timeline was selectively plucked from a range of 12 to 44 years in the IPCC’s special report, 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 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.
The vast majority of the climate models the IPCC uses as the basis for its predictions have repeatedly incorrectly forecast higher temperatures. 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.