Climate change on the lot: why and how to act urgently?

More than 300 people are interested in the subject in the Maurice Faure de Prayssac room. (©Jean-Claude Bonnemere)

To whom Prayssac, Alain Grandjean, Guillaume Martin, and Benoit Meyssignac three personalities of the world of science emphasized the causes and consequences of the current climate change and called to review our consumption patterns.

It is because one of these three scientists has a foothold in Lot that Pricexac can offer a conference on “The Causes and Consequences of Ongoing Climate Change” to make university centers green with envy on January 20, 2023. The Lotois were not mistaken, and braving the rigors of winter, they found more than 300 people in Maurice Faure’s room. In response to the joint invitation of the association Carrefour des Sciences et des Arts and the bookstore Racines de Prayssac, Alain Grandjean, economist, member of the High Council for ClimateGuillaume Martin, agronomist, researcher INRAE ​​(National Agricultural Research Institute) and Benoit Meyssignac, climatologist, researcher at CNES, author IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)tried to make material scientific information often inaccessible to the general public.

More than 300 people are interested in the subject in the Maurice Faure de Prayssac room.  © Jean-Claude Bonnemere
Alain Grandjean, Benoît Meyssignac and Guillaume Martin, Prayssac, in the room of Maurice Faure. © Jean-Claude Bonnemere (©JCB)

Impact of climate change on earth

France, and especially Lot, is subject to the vagaries of climate change, the effects of which can already be verified on agricultural lands, drastically affecting a variety of crops, from grapes to truffles, through grains and market garden crops. The melting of the polar caps in the north and south has a direct effect on the climate. Even if the situation does not seem immediately serious, it will be remembered during the intervention of the three speakers that the consequences of climate change will have a heavy impact on the future of future generations. The melting of the glaciers, which lasts until the end of time, will cause the sea level to rise up to 64 meters… That is, how much will the coasts of France and the coasts of all other countries of the planet be affected. , wash their land borders in seas or oceans. Hence the importance of doing everything possible to stay below the famous 2 degree rise in temperature which has been much talked about for several years; some kind of marker that cannot be reached “at the risk of triggering irreversible actions”, it has been claimed several times …

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

“In addition to stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions, it is necessary to do everything to reduce them! Guillaume Martin sings. This remains achievable because, closer to us, during the 1998 financial crisis that caused an economic shock in Russia and the Covid pandemic that caused a general slowdown in economic activity, greenhouse gas emission reductions were realistic according to projections. recorded data pleases the scientific community. However, these “good results for the planet” were short-lived, as the end of the crisis and the end of the pandemic shifted the curves upwards. Global temperature rise is now shown to be 1.2 degrees Celsius with worrying heat islands in urban centers. In addition, the expansion of desert zones is noted.

As for precipitation, increased precipitation is observed in short periods and more often in extreme proportions. An increase in the number of droughts in agriculture in the south of France, as in Lot, results in reduced yields of barley and wheat. Guillaume Martin notes: “Heat events with temperatures of 41° to 42°, which were rare until now, are becoming more frequent, as well as in terms of precipitation.”

Every passing year counts…

Guillaume Martin continues: “Every time we burn a liter of gasoline, there is an impact on the environment, so the question is how to adapt and how to manage the risks.” According to data from Giec*, the current situation links us to a temperature rise of around 1.5 degrees. Thus, each year consumed is calculated and each consumption choice must be justified, as its impact affects the emission of greenhouse gases.

Agriculture is at the forefront of climate change evolution. Since the effects are felt to be direct, scientific experts observe a decrease in productivity. “Since the 2000s, we have witnessed a stagnation in the productivity of agricultural production due to the limitation of precipitation and the increase in temperature,” notes Benoit Meyssignac. While this yield decreases in the south of France, it tends to increase in the north…

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In 2022, many farmers in the south of France had to deal with spring frosts, heat waves, then a long summer drought and another heat wave. Vines, trees and even grasses suffered from this condition. This general context may lead to the arrival of new crop predators. In recent years, the harvest date has been constantly pushed forward, from mid-October to mid-September for certain wines. In addition, the increase in alcohol and decrease in acidity in wines has caused a number of wines to drop from 12 to 15 degrees. Grapes have been planted in Brittany and southern England this year… For Quercy blanc we can expect increasingly drier and longer summers. Another effect of this climate change is an increasingly hasty awakening of vegetation in the spring.

Advantage: situational awareness

Another powerful message conveyed by the speakers: the advantage we have of knowing the causes of climate change, and therefore our ability to influence the course of events. “We know the causes of this climate change related to the consumption of gasoline, fuel oil, coal, methane…” said Alain Grandjean, “we must do everything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our concrete lives.” This should result in a reduction in our consumption, which in particular should result in a reduction in speed when traveling by car, an increase in driving experience, and an increase in the use of public transport. We need to organize to reduce the number of trips and prioritize soft mobility. “For mid-size electric cars, we’re sure it’s better than a thermal car! Alain Grandjean assures.

Each of us must make a choice

Alain Grandjean adds: “By making a choice, each of us can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions we are responsible for by around 25%.” It also urges government agencies to consider science for their projects and environmental impacts. In terms of food consumption, Alain Grandjean recommends reducing the proportion of animal proteins in favor of vegetable proteins. Consumers should consider their consumption patterns in light of environmental considerations. “We regret that today organic farmers are facing financial difficulties because they cannot sell their products.” Peas lose value due to lack of consumers…

Reduce CO2 emissions

Each of us produces an average of 10 tons of C02 per year, it should be less than 2 tons! That is, there is a lot of space in the efforts to be made, in taking the challenge. “10% of the world’s population produces 50% of greenhouse gases, and this 10% is the population of Western countries! ” support three scientists. It’s not “others” living in Africa or Japan, it’s us!

Other key players called upon to play a decisive role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions are companies that must evolve towards products and services that pollute more than ever before. Today, the world population reaches 8 billion people; gestures towards the planet should be clearly universal. The Grenelle de l’environnement (2007) opened statutory pathways that should be strengthened and expanded. “Even if we are far from the mark, we should not despair! ” the three speakers say together.

From the left d.  Sara Grandjean, Alain Grandjean, Benoît Meyssignac, Guillaume Martin and Annabelle Foucault.
From the left d. Sara Grandjean, Alain Grandjean, Benoît Meyssignac, Guillaume Martin and Annabelle Foucault. (©JCB)

The climate has irrevocably changed… “There is no future for winter sports resorts at low altitude! says Alain Grandjean insisting on the need to adapt to changes. As sites become exposed to torrential rains, it is important to take leadership in consideration of the risks to the public. It is about making decisions in the field of agriculture in accordance with climate change. “Everyone has a role, everyone has the power to change the course of things!” » Alain Grandjean completes his opinion.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is an intergovernmental body responsible for assessing the reality, causes and consequences of ongoing climate change.

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