” We’re not going in the right direction. “By opening the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, the UN secretary-general António Guterres was not really optimistic. Two weeks later, on 15 December, he was probably still a little less. The representatives of the countries present agreed on a text as a minimum. In spite of the opposition of heavyweights such as the United States and Brazil, the COP24 has given birth to a sort of toolbox to implement the ambitions of the COP21 in Paris. Participants agreed on ways to measure the CO2 emissions of each country, a prerequisite for achieving the objective of the COP21 (to maintain the average temperature increase below 2 °C or 1.5 °C, compared to the level of the pre-industrial era).

But several of the actors hoped to be better, much better. The environmental organizations, in particular, wished that the States committed themselves to reduce much more drastic their greenhouse gas emissions. To limit the increase to 1.5 °C, should be in effect, according to the scientists, to halve such emissions by 2030 compared to 2010. However, according to the latest report by the Global Carbon Project, they have increased in 2018 of 2 %…

As in all international organizations, the interests of some (the country producers of coal, or oil), and other (” green “) battled it out in the COP24, to the point of almost cancel each other out. The explorer and scientist Jean-Louis Étienne, author of a new book on climate change for children (*), however, is not overwhelmed by this result. He believes that it is necessary to go beyond these disputes by encouraging everyone to take the environment to its account, ” in its area of influence “.

The Point : Between François de Rugy, the minister of Ecology, which “welcomes the agreement reached” and the NGO Oxfam, which says, in speaking of a ” hop “where the Earth would have required a” giant leap “, what must we think of the agreement at the COP24 ?

Jean-Louis Étienne. There has been a result, an agreement has been obtained. Imagine what it would have said if the participants had withdrawn without a sign anything. A disaster ! However, an agreement, this is what allows them to mobilize. Anyway, in this kind of summit where 2,000 people gather in fourteen days, what important step can we adopt ? It is diplomacy permanent, and a good diplomatic agreement always aligns to the lowest common denominator. In Katowice, the States are committed to continue their efforts on emissions of greenhouse gases. It is a first step towards the monitoring of these emissions. There is a markup. So this is not a failure.

” We have already lost too much time in sterile argument to ask : You really believe, you, global warming ? “

It is an understatement ! The agreement is still very short of what we could expect…

yes, it is a agreement at a minimum. But the subject is complex. This touches upon the energy and in particular coal, is key to the running of the world. In France, two coal-fired power plants still operate. In Germany, 40 % of the energy produced by this source, which is the main issuer of greenhouse gases. As to Poland, which welcomed the COP24, it is 80 % of the energy that is produced by coal ! Go and tell the Poles to divide consumption by two. This is not an option ! Even today, the economic dimension takes on an ecological dimension.

there is something to be discouraged !

We can not lower the arm. We have already lost too much time in sterile argument to ask : “You believe that, you, global warming ? “All the scientific studies agree that the warming is at work, the surface temperature of the globe has increased by 1 °C in a century. When the human body heats up to a degree, it is 38 °C, and it starts to go wrong !

But the States, as we saw in Katowice, are divided on the goals to be achieved and means to be used. It turns a little round and round and round…

Yes, a little. But look at India. Its population will soon exceed that of China, its inhabitants are going to want to continue to equip, to warm, to move. But they are not responsible for the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (it is mostly due to decades of industrial development, editor’s NOTE). They are asked to pay the bill then they are for nothing ! So I think the solution will come more by the citizens and the country. I travel a lot in cities to give talks, and I see it everywhere initiatives of mayors, for example, to reduce energy consumption. The solution is in the citizen, in real life, more than in the hands of the States. We need to stop saying that we are going to change the paradigm, it is useless. It is up to each individual to take decisions at its level.

What to do, for example ?

take a Look at what just happened in Australia. This country possesses a number of coal mines that are still producing a lot. To avoid getting slapped on the fingers, he told an indian producer of the operation of mines at sea, which will destroy the coral reef. Gold, major western banks that may finance this kind of project. The solution that everyone can adopt, it is going to see his banker and say to him : “If you continue to invest in this kind of project, I have to close my account with you. “It is necessary to have this boldness. This is the sum of small actions you will do it.

(*) ” The Child who walks “, Jean-Louis Etienne and Florence Thinard, editions Plume de carotte.


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