“Between Jouzel and Pouyanné, the public authorities must choose”

“In the end, I’m tired of it”, said climatologist Jean Jouzel, returning from the Medef summer school where he said he received a frosty welcome on August 29. His crime? Having reminded, in front of an audience of business leaders and in front of Patrick Pouyanné, president of TotalEnergies that, “to limit warming to 1.5°C, we only have five years of emissions left at the current rate” and that it was therefore necessary to stop investing immediately in fossil fuels, as insisted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency. “I described things as they are”declared the famous climatologist.

However, he was firmly dismissed by Patrick Pouyanné, who retorted: This transition, I’m sorry Jean, but it will take time. I ume to continue my oil and gas investments because demand is growing. I respect the opinion of scientists but there is real life. »

” The real life. » Jean Jouzel did not fail to point out that real life was also heatwaves, floods, the lack of water which took tragic turns in Mayotte, the megafires. The one that ravaged Canada this summer burned the equivalent of a quarter of the surface of France and emitted 1 billion tonnes of CO2.

However, Patrick Pouyanné is not entirely wrong: real life is also a world where the train often costs more than the plane, where a whole part of the population depends on the car, where the thermal renovation of buildings is much too slow, where French banks are among the world leaders in financing fossil fuels, where advertising encourages us to buy SUVs (sport utility vehicle)… a world also where we import from the other side of the planet, thanks to oil, a whole bunch of goods often produced with coal.

Patrick Pouyanné adapts to this real life perfectly. And, let’s be clear, it’s not because he is climate skeptic: he and Medef understand the science of the IPCC, know how to read the figures. Total even deliberately concealed the results of its own studies which predicted global warming as early as the 1970s. They simply do not want to change their economic model if this is contrary to their interests, which are essentially determined in the short term. They therefore cling to the status quo, even if it will be unfavorable to a large majority of humanity. In reality, Jean Jouzel and Patrick Pouyanné talk about the same real life. Except that one deplores it, and the other is content with it.

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