“You say you love us, but what planet are you going to leave us? Isn’t this question the source of the growing tension between young people and adults, including their parents and grandparents? Like the one that begins in Glasgow on October 31, the COP21 in 2015 was described as crucial. Even before it was held, it had to be successful because it took place after the failure of Copenhagen. And, in unison, all indeed hailed his success. Undeniable success in terms of communication …
Failure of the Paris Agreement
However, there were a few of us, including Nicolas Hulot, who doubted the effectiveness of a non-binding agreement if it were not respected by its parties. Unfortunately, as often in matters of ecology, history has proved the “never happy” right. At the end of 2020, the UN recalled that greenhouse gas emissions continued to increase by 2%, whereas they had to be reduced annually by 7.6% between 2020 and 2030 to meet the Paris objective of climate increase limited to 1.5 °. At this rate, the expected temperature rise on the planet is 3 ° C at the end of the century.
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So where are the proofs of love asking us Greta, and the young people of the “Youth for climate” demonstrations, my children, your children, your grandchildren? And yet the pandemic period we are living has proved that when we wanted, in all countries of the world, at all costs, we were capable of unprecedented mobilizations. Many of us have hoped that the Covid would be the trigger. That nothing would be the same again. That the pandemic was the sign sent to humanity that reminded them of their vulnerability and the need for their coming together, their unity, their fraternity, some dared say.
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But hopes were quickly dashed when we saw that the billions of billions mobilized were only intended to restore, as quickly as possible, the initial model.
Interpellation of conscience
Now, for some, all indicators are green: factories are running at full speed and consumption is picking up with the associated sacrosanct growth. For others, these same indicators are red lights. The words of some are the evils of others. In July 2015, ahead of COP 21, within the very secular Economic, Social and Environmental Council, a “Summit of Conscience” was held. Invited by the President of the French Republic, representatives of philosophies, wisdoms, religions from all over the world, met upstream of the COP, to ask the question of the meaning of our commitments.
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Besides the fact that this questioning of conscience was a beautiful expression of an intelligent exercise of our republican secularism, is not this “methodology” what is lacking in many debates which divide us?
The why before the how
In Glasgow, the hierarchy of questions deserves to be respected if we do not want, once again, to let technicians discuss the carbon end and the temperature gradient.
The “For whom” and the “Why” must precede the “How”. Today, however, we have to admit that the priority of our public policies is not given to young people. This was striking in the management of the pandemic, it is even more so in terms of the climate.
By its very title (COP stands for “Conference of the Parties”), the meeting which opens in Glasgow is first and foremost a place where each of the “parties” will take care to defend its interests.
Oceans and forests, mountains and rivers will not have representatives.
No idea of ”common goods” presides over these negotiations because there is no meeting where a shared story and lexicon are developed to write a project for humanity with several hands. It lacks this place to write a new love story with our children, oceans and forests, mountains and rivers, and all that lives and is not human.