“The phenomena we thought we would see at +2°C are happening much earlier and hitting harder”

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[EN VIDÉO] Interview with Jean Jouzel: What will be the repercussions of global warming on our society?
In an interview, Jean Jouzel, a famous paleoclimatologist, tells us about the repercussions of global warming on our lifestyles.

It is inflation due to hydrocarbons, due to supply. If 20 years ago you invested in photovoltaics or took shares in a wind farm, then today you are not affected by this crisis », notes Johan Rockstromthe director of thePotsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in an interview with AFP.

Since 1990, we have been saying that we must gradually abandon the economy based on fossil fuels for the benefit of an economy based on renewable energies. And now here we go — we’re taking it wall [après] 30 years of underinvestment », observes the scientist, one of the main architects of the concept of « planetary boundaries — resource usage thresholds that humanity must not exceed to live in a safe ecosystem.

Mr. Rockström worked for two years on his contribution to the collective report Earth For All: A Survival Guide for Humanity (” The earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity”), published on Tuesday by the Roma cluba think tank of scientists and economists founded in 1968.

The book is in line with the famous Meadows report, published in 1972 under the aegis of the Club of Rome. This reference document, at the origin of the work “Halt to growth? » (Limits to Growth), asserted that development could not continue indefinitely without reaching a limit of resource consumption.

Two growth scenarios

Fifty years later, the new report, which included authors from the first, forecasts two growth scenarios. The first, nicknamed Too Little, Too Late (“Too little, too late”) would see economic orthodoxy persist, deepening inequality as the world overshootsParis Agreement and is currently moving towards a warming of 2.5°C by 2100 compared to the end of the 19th century.e century.

The second scenario, that of GreatLeap (“Great Leap”), foresees an unprecedented mobilization of resources to implement five societal changes:

  • poverty eradication;
  • eradication of inequalities;
  • women’s autonomy ;
  • more plant-based global diet;
  • rapid decarbonization of energy.

The authors argue that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should grant $1 trillion a year to the poorest nations to create green jobs and that rich countries should cancel the debt of those with low incomes while giving their citizens a “universal basic dividend”.

Slowing down and containing runaway global warming

World has reached ’emergency point’, says Rockström, as climate-related disasters — with current warming of +1.1°C since the start of the industrial age — are occurring more frequently provided that. ” Here we are: at +1.1°C, the phenomena we thought we would see at 2°C are happening much earlier and hitting harder “, he explains, after a summer marked by drought records and of heat in Europe and China, and cataclysmic floods in Pakistan.

We risk heading towards a doomsday scenario, not because we are injecting more carbon dioxide and man-made greenhouse gases, but because the earth system itself is starting to emit these gases “, considering the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the increase in forest fires.

Scientists should consider a much wider range of scenarios “, in order to better integrate phenomena that are certainly unlikely but extremely devastating and which could lead to runaway global warming.

However, Mr. Rockström says he is “fairly pessimistic” about the governments’ capacity for reform. ” Three years ago, I would have said I was optimistic — we’ve seen a post-Paris momentum with more public policy and business engaging, he worries. Now with thecollapse public trust post-Covid and the rise of populism, I don’t feel like we’re really ready to implement all of these leaps and bounds.”

This is why timing is really important. We must relaunch the debate and talk about the urgency of acting. Is it a challenge? Absolutely. »

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