Climate: what are the results after three decades of commitments? (By Mamadou Diallo)

As a result of human activity, global warming is increasing worldwide with disastrous consequences. This is despite the commitment of various countries to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For more than three decades, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which has 197 member countries, have repeatedly signed agreements and conventions to express their aspirations.reverse the climate curve. In 1992, these countries met at the third summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to discuss this issue. The purpose of this meeting was to attract the signatories to increase their efforts in the fight against global warming. According to them, a way to enable the humanity of today and tomorrow to live in a suitable environment. The 25-page, 26-article document that resulted from this summit states:

The ultimate goal of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels that prevent any dangerous anthropogenic impacts, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention. interfering with the climate system. Sufficient time should be reached for ecosystems to naturally adapt to climate change, food production not to be jeopardized, and economic development to continue sustainably.. “, they mention in Article 2 of this convention. (Link 1992 Climate Convention)

This passage of the Convention underlines the seriousness of the climate crisis threatening the world. This means that countries must continue to fight against greenhouse gas emissions exponentially. If we refer to the analysis of the American scientist Charles David Keeling, who was engaged in the measurement of carbon dioxide at the Mauna Loa observatory at that time, the atmospheric composition of CO2 was already 370 ppm.

Looking at the current data published in the latest 2022 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), especially the summary addressed to decision makers, we see that the global average surface temperature has only been increasing since 1990. two years before the signing of the climate convention. (The IPCC 2022 report is addressed to decision makers) This IPCC study shows us once again that there is a kind of meteoric acceleration in the rise of global average surface temperatures. By the end of 2020, this increase has reached 1.2°C.

Since 1979, when the IPCC prepared its first report, this independent organization, which unites hundreds of scientists, has been sounding the alarm. But this alarm signal about the real danger of the climate disaster, it seems, did not awaken the conscience of the political decision-makers.

In December 2009, during COP15 in Copenhagen, heads of state initialed a three-page agreement pledging to keep global warming below 2°C by the end of the century. But in Sixth report of 2021also addressed to decision-makers, the IPCC describes a very serious climate change situation and predicts that the 2°C limit will not be met if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates.

What are the main reasons for this inertia?

30 years after the signing of the Climate Convention, why the paradigm shift is slow to happen? Publications or warnings from scientists such as the IPCC or NASA about the extreme danger of greenhouse gas emissions often irritate various leaders. In their speeches, they show concern about the increase in extreme environmental events. But it is paradoxical that their actions do not coincide with their words.

How can this inertia be explained? It is difficult to give a single answer. However, in the face of planetary economic challenges, it can be said that some decision-makers – whether climate skeptics or climate agnostics – have preferred unlimited economic growth through large-scale exploitation of natural resources such as gas and coal. oil, forests, etc.

The energy crisis caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine is reviving the debate in Europe today about reopening fossil fuel power plants. In Germany, for example, the federal government has announced that twenty-seven coal-fired power plants will be restarted to produce electricity by March 2024. The same scenario is in France, where the executive has announced that its own power plant will open soon. Saint-Avold, Moselle, in the Grand-Est region. It is followed by Bulgaria, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands. Even if this initiative is intended to fill the temporary energy shortage and meet the needs of the population, it would be a real environmental disaster.

It produces only 12% of CO in developing countries, Africa or Latin America2 people in the world are falling into poverty. The effects of climate change are hitting already disadvantaged regions and damaging their sources of income.

Climate skeptics are on the move!

Meeting the various climate commitments requires a clear will from the political decision-makers at the helm of the most industrialized countries. Some of them are campaigning for a global balance related to sustainable development that does not violate environmental standards. Others are openly hostile to climate scientists and environmentalists.

Each of the factions is weighted according to its position. In the implementation of climate commitments, conventions and agreements, the socio-political factor prevails in the minds of the governments of most developed countries, even if the climate principles published by the United Nations do not question the speed of climate development. these states.

Climate skeptics work either to spread misleading messages for vested interests or to favor a multinational group that wants to further develop by stifling the climate order.

Strong climate skeptics have even managed to rise to the top of certain countries and use their position to fight climate change. In 2016, the arrival of Donald Trump, known as a climatoscope, to the White House dashed hopes of halting the pace of greenhouse gas emissions. In the process, the billionaire announced his country’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 in 2015, while the US is the world’s second largest polluter after China at 14.5%, according to the International Energy Agency.

When Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement

The ex-president enthusiastically declared that “global warming is a myth. As a result, he appointed climate skeptics to head the US agencies responsible for regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is also in this group of climate-sceptic leaders. The shift, initiated in 2016 by a former resident of the Elysee Palace, perhaps under the influence of some misinformed academics, is a sign of the blindness that could lead the world’s population to a dangerous abyss.

This doubt, which continues to be sown by political leaders, may be one of the main reasons why some countries, which are major emitters of greenhouse gases, do not respect their national and international climate commitments.

This snapshot shows a protester against Jair Bolsonaro’s destructive environmental policies (Photo credit: Liberation). This man, above all, condemns the inertia of the now ex-climatoscopic leader in the face of the fire that reduced the Amazon forest to ashes, which constitutes one of the ecological lungs of the planet. Since the far-right leader came to power in 2019, Brazil has only gone backwards in protecting ecosystems. His first months in power were marked by verbal attacks on climate activists and the dismantling of deforestation watchdogs. The daily El Pais Brasil reminds that his regime has also significantly reduced the budget of Brazil’s environmental institute. The new president, Lula, has his work cut out to restore his environmental image.

This drawing from the newspaper Reporter this category sums up almost everything about politicians.

These climate skeptics focus on theories that aim to relativize the harmful effects of CO.2 at the global average temperature. A way of criticizing the work of scientists that helps to create a dilemma in the minds of a part of the population.

It’s not just them. In this harmful climate, the business world and the population of industrialized countries have their own responsibility. As noted by the non-governmental organization “Notre affaires à tous”, quoted by La Croix newspaper, 25 international companies, including Total, were selected in the rating of the organization on climate shifts.

Mamadou DIALLO, Journalist

Master 2 student, Climate and Media

University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France)

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