“It’s never too late to act”

10:49 May 13, 2022

Heat waves, record floods, floods… Natural disasters are on the rise, and the effects of global warming are being felt around the world. According to the UN on Tuesday, there is one chance that the average annual global temperature will be temporarily 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial values ​​for at least one of the next five years. A new alarming report just weeks after the publication on April 4 of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which announces possible solutions to limit greenhouse gas emissions. ” The goal is to make an effort now “Explains JDD Frank Lecock, director of the International Center for Environmental Research and Development (Cired) and co-author of the report.

Is the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees still in line with the Paris Agreement?
According to the IPCC report, without rapid, immediate and profound action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, the goal of staying below 1.5 degrees will be unattainable. We have a climate policy that applies in many countries. Almost half of global emissions are somehow regulated. On the other hand, these norms are not enough, as emissions continue to increase.

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The idea that humanity has only three years left to save a habitable planet has often surfaced in the media in recent weeks. It’s true ?
This statement is not in the IPCC report. First, this idea implements all or nothing. However, the fact is that we are already seeing the effects of climate change. There is not a single minute after which there is nothing left to save, and therefore nothing to do. If we want to limit global warming to 2 degrees, let alone 1.5 degrees, we need not only to stabilize global emissions, but to reduce them quickly. They will need to be reduced by almost 40% by 2030 compared to 2019 to hold 1.5 degrees, and by about 20% in 2030 compared to 2019 to hold 2 degrees. The goal is to make an effort now.

There is an individual choice, ie a choice of lifestyle that consumes less energy and carbon

Isn’t it too late to act?
It is never too late to act. The report says there is significant potential for action available today in all sectors, which is likely to halve emissions by 2030, all at a reasonable cost of less than € 100 per tonne of CO2. However, the implementation of these solutions is a serious problem.

What’s new in the latest IPCC report compared to the 2014 report?
There is a better understanding of ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions by changing demand and lifestyle. The report estimates that by 2050, all measures to reduce demand will reduce emissions by almost half compared to today. Part of this potential corresponds to individual choices, such as the superiority of the train over the aircraft. But some of these decisions, such as going to work by public transport instead of car, can only be made with the necessary infrastructure and, therefore, if collective decisions are made in terms of transport, regional planning or housing policy, for example.

Can technology be a tool against climate change?
Yes, but two extremes should be avoided. On the one hand, ” technology will save us, in itself, it will solve all problems “And on the other” it’s all about behavior “No, a combination of the two is needed. Technology remains an important element. The report points to a very significant drop in the cost of solar and wind energy. The technology also covers energy efficiency, ie providing the same service with less energy. Switching from incandescent to low and then to LEDs is a very classic example of energy efficiency.

Efforts that have not been made to reduce emissions will have to be made otherwise

How can we act as citizens?
There are elements of the order of individual choice, ie choosing the maximum possible lifestyle that consumes less energy and carbon. The report also emphasizes the importance of reducing waste, for example in the food or energy sectors. Of course, there is the participation of citizens in the collective choice and choice of public policy at all levels. Finally, the report shows the importance of disseminating best practices in society and the role of example and example to follow.

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What are the possible scenarios in case of inaction?
As our colleagues working on the impact of climate change have shown, the less effort is made to reduce emissions, the more greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, the stronger global warming and therefore higher risks in all areas with consequences for extreme consequences. events, consequences for ecosystems, etc. Efforts that have not been made to reduce emissions will have to be made in other ways, to adapt to the changing climate. Studies evaluated by the IPCC show that limiting global warming to 2 degrees will cost us less than not doing so and the associated consequences.