Climate: a shower of records

Published on Nov 20, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.

It is a little maddening tweet , one more, posted this Monday morning by the European Copernicus Observatory. For the first time, the global average temperature last Friday was more than 2° degrees higher than the seasonal average in the pre-industrial era (1850-1900). It would have stood at +2°06, according to estimates. A few hours later, this data was also confirmed for Saturday November 18.

While the current climate is generally considered to have warmed by around 1.2° compared to the reference period (but already 1.7° in France), the readings from recent months clearly show that the slope is now more strong. A few days before the COP28 in Dubai, the UN has also reiterated once again that the current trend is leading us towards a world that will be permanently warmer by 2.5 to 2.9°.

The objective of containing developments to 1.5° appears totally and irremediably out of reach. You have to read the following sentence to be definitively convinced: the countries’ current commitments lead to a 2% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, instead of the… -43% recommended to maintain the initial ambition. And again this would ume that commitments, even if insufficient, are kept. Who believes it?

The incredible paradox of the situation is that it should provoke spectacular decisions. On the contrary, it is climate skepticism which is resisting (notably in our country) and a sort of climate relativism or climate aquabonism which is taking hold, with “backlash” effects, an ecological backlash in the face of decisions already taken – which will nevertheless appear quite trivial in 10 or 20 years.

Is information a good lever to turn the tide? Without a doubt. Alongside those on climate change, there is that on the evolution of GHG emissions. In France, these (local) emissions increased from 431 million tonnes to 404 million between 2019 and 2022. The national objective is 397 million tonnes this year, then 384 million next year (excluding carbon sinks such as forests).

The Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, has according to our information asked the organization responsible for this work, Citepa, to publish monthly data on emissions in France. Until now, the distribution is quarterly. This will be done from January, with 7 to 8 press releases per year instead of 4. In parallel with the hundreds of data that we receive each year on the economy, this will however remain modest.

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