Climate guru Petteri Taalas: Climate change is not yet out of control, but the debate is – “It has the features of religious extremism.”

Dr. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, and hence the top scientist in the UNIPCC process: key excerpts from his opinions and quotations, translated from a September 6, 2019, article in Talouselama:

— According to Petteri Taalas, there are, as of yet, no signs of horror images of climate change, such as the reversal of the Gulf Stream or large-scale methane depletion as the Siberian permafrost melts.

“If we look at the state of the world, excluding climate change and population growth, then we are at the best of mankind’s time in many ways: the economy, health and, for example, the position of women will never be better.”

— “The IPCC reports are read like the Holy Book, where certain sentences are sought to justify their own extreme positions. It has the features of religious extremism,” Taalas says.

— He hopes for the media to be incisive and versatile when interviewing experts and stakeholders.

“We also have certain reservations about our experts. We are sometimes promoters of our own cause.”

— The career meteorologist does not see the basis for the apocalyptic scenarios that are being predicted now.

“This world will not end, the world will only become dark. The living conditions of some people on the planet are getting harder, but people have been living under difficult conditions for a while.”

— 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 subsided, but, according to Taalas, experts are now being challenged from the other side.

“Experts are under attack for not being radical enough. There are threats and extremists in all corners of the world.”

— “The Finnish media has been raising concern. The latest issue was that children became a negative thing. For example, I am concerned about young mothers who already have many burdens. This adds to their load.” According to him, the solution to climate change does not require an individual to have an ascetic life or to stop having children.

— Much more radical climate action is being demanded today, by the Extinction Rebellion or the Rebellion Climate Movement, who already demand zero emissions by 2025 and “truthful” climate information from governments. Like the climate research from the Holy Book and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, which are now also being exploited in the same way.

— He also does not believe that climate policy should be turned into widespread prohibitions or some form of command economy. The fight against climate change does not require a lower standard of living.

“A large amount of coal power has been built, and it is difficult to give it up immediately. This is a big economic issue,” Taalas says. He points out that giving up coal power has not been easy in Helsinki.

 

The article was translated from the Finnish Financial Newspaper Talouselama (The Journal) for the CO2 Coalition by Language Innovations LLC, on September 23, 2019.