Met Éireann tells staff to look on bright side of climate change

Internal memo advises against ‘despairing’ chatter when discussing extreme weather

 The Met Éireann advice suggest using metaphors such as ‘the weather on steroids’. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

The Met Éireann advice suggest using metaphors such as ‘the weather on steroids’. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

 

Met Éireann staff have been advised not to talk in terms of “despair” over climate change but to use positive language to show people they can make a difference.

An internal memo says using words like “inevitable” could create a feeling that nothing can be done and lead to “inaction” from the public.

The advice is contained in a new set of guidelines for Met Éireann staff issued in January and released under the Freedom of Information Act.

“We can discuss the choice we face between a future with more climate change and larger increases in extreme weather, and one with less. The future is in our hands,” it says.

Human influence

Met Éireannn said the new advice came in response to increased queries about weather and the human influence on climate change.

The advisory suggested using metaphors such as “the weather on steroids” or how global warming was “stacking the deck” towards more and more extreme weather events.

It advised saying something like: “Heat-trapping gases act like steroids in the climate system, increasing the odds of extreme heat, heavy downpours, and some other types of extreme events.”

Extreme events

It said this would communicate that, while extreme events occur naturally, they were happening more frequently and more intensely.

The document said that if Ireland experiences a drought or heatwave, it was correct to point to the increase of such events due to human activities.

It also said it was no longer appropriate to say a severe weather event was categorically not linked to climate change. Instead, staff were advised to say these things were “more than likely part of the trend of increasing extreme events”.