“The IPCC report opens a path of hope for humanity in the midst of climate chaos”

THEastounding precision of the climatic picture painted by the sixth assessment report of the IPCC [Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat] testifies both to the robustness of the hypotheses of climatologists crystallized since the end of the 1970s and to the considerable progress made in recent years. But this obscure clarity also reveals the time lost, over the past twenty years, to ward off the inexorable march of climate catastrophe. Fortunately, the clarity of the observation corresponds to the clarity of the solutions implied by the three essential messages which emerge from the thousands of pages of the report and its appendices.

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First message: we will not avoid a +1.5 ° C world [seuil de hausse de température établi dans l’accord de Paris de 2015], all the scenarios studied converge there in the more or less short term. The answer to this certainty is not to be alarmed but to protect yourself from it. Since climate change is a social risk that directly threatens human health, it is important to build genuine “social-ecological” protection that allows this unprecedented risk to be pooled and thus mitigated.

Health insecurity

For France, this means very concretely, for example, to strengthen our collective protections against heat waves which constitute, historically and prospectively, the most serious climate threats to health and economic security. Threats that have translated, if only in the past two years, into thousands of lives lost prematurely. Climate change will only increase health insecurity over the next few years – months, to be honest. We have the means to prepare for it for the benefit of the most vulnerable.

Second message: there is a path of hope for humanity in the midst of the climatic chaos that it itself has created. This is the so-called “SSP 1” scenario (Shared Socio-Economic Pathway 1), which makes human well-being and the reduction of social inequalities the two pillars of development instead of economic growth. This scenario projects, like the others, humanity in the world to +1.5 ° C, but it keeps it there in the medium term, before allowing it to go back below this fateful threshold, to +1, 4 ° C, towards the end of the XXIe century.

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This “climate narrative”, finalized in January 2017, explicitly involves abandoning the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) as a collective horizon and as a compass for public policies, given its correlation with greenhouse gas emissions and overexploitation of natural resources.

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