Environment. Can we predict the climate crisis?

“So who could have predicted the wave of inflation? Or the climate crisis, which again has spectacular effects in our country this summer? »
Emmanuel Macron questioned himself in this way during his 2023 address to the French, prompting several scientists to react. “These questions are not serious,” says Michel Lussault. This geographer is an expert on the Anthropocene, that is, the era in which humans have affected the planet’s ecosystem. This period, not limited to the summer drought of 2022, generally refers to the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century.

1896: Swedish chemist predicts global warming

Besides with industrialization The first predictions of global warming, in particular, came from an 1896 paper by Savnte Arrhenius, he said. After several months of calculations, this Swedish chemist concluded that if we double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the global temperature will increase by 5-6°C. Just before him, the Irish physicist John Tyndall demonstrates the warming power of gases in the atmosphere. However, these research results are not really taken seriously.

In the middle of the 20th century, the new work complements this knowledge. Scientists prove that the more carbon dioxide, the more infrared rays are absorbed, and the oceans cannot absorb all this gas. For his part, British engineer Guy Callendar immerses himself in the data of 147 meteorological stations around the world. It reveals climate change: 0.3°C more in the 50 years before 1938. Since then, the engineer has argued that CO2 emissions from industry are responsible. However, we continue to think that man is not too heavy with respect to solar activity.

Established fact

You have to wait to soak the consciences. ” Since 1970, there are many warnings around the climate problem. They will create more and more moments of collective reflection,” emphasizes Michel Lussault. “Since 1972, with the Stockholm Conference, the environment has become one of the main mobilization issues within the UN. Awareness of the problem is so great that the IPCC was established in 1988. Climatologists, ecologists, economists, doctors…

About 2,500 experts from more than 60 countries come together to better understand global change. “Since then, all global studies, IPCC communications and international conferences have converged to say that the climate crisis is not coming, but that we are already in it.” For thirty years, the human and social sciences have been asking questions about the adaptability of people,” recalls the geographer.

The climate is warming. The reason is human activity. It has been established for thirty years.In 1990, the first IPCC report, writes in black and white that deforestation and fossil fuel consumption, along with natural changes, intensify the greenhouse effect and cause global warming. It already heralds drought, heat waves and forest fires. In such a case, scientists have recommended reducing human activities that generate greenhouse gases in order not to worsen the situation.

“Vintage” thinking?

“You’d have to be blind and deaf to say you can’t second-guess yourself. Interrogation of the president demonstrates the attitude of the political and economic elite to scientific knowledge,” Michel Luosos teases. “Today, discussions are no longer about change, but about rhythms, events, origins.”
What to do? “We have moved to a climate-relativism where human genius can overcome technical solutions. It’s a vintage speech with a bunch of nonsense that doesn’t allow you to change anything. It avoids asking questions about the organization and functioning of the economy, contrary to what all research suggests, namely the problem of resources. Today, we have no shortage of diagnostic tools. The problem is to continue thinking about 2023 with the mindset of 1970.”

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