Friday, June 2, 2023

Nadia Maïzi, author of the Giec: “Governments are not up to it”

The “report of all reports” has just been unveiled. The result of nine years of work, this report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is major for the future of humanity. Nadia Maïzi, main author of the sixth IPCC report, explains why this synthesis is crucial. The renowned scientist also agreed to answer questions that readers of Les Echos asked her via social networks.

Marianne: The Sixth Report of the IPCC has just been published. What can we learn from this new report?

This latest summary concludes work started in 2018. It summarizes the main results of the three parts of the 6th report, and the results of the three special reports (on the consequences of a 1.5 degree warming, land use, and the oceans). This summary report thus aggregates all the main results of this work.

Two facets are particularly interesting to note. On the one hand, this report insists on the message of urgency and observations relating to the effects of climate change which are already being felt. Hardly a day goes by without extreme weather events occurring. For example, at the moment, Malawi and California are the scene of hurricanes and intense rains, which have dramatic consequences.

On the other hand, the IPCC’s message is to say that there is still time to act and that we must act quickly. Solutions exist to adapt and reduce these emissions, they are identified and funding is available. The challenge of adapting and preparing for extreme weather events that most often overwhelm, and this is a great injustice, the poorest countries. However, for the most affected countries, which are also those which contribute the least to global warming, and which do not have the capacity to cope, to deploy these solutions, they must also be able to develop.

Ana: Will global warming of 1.5°C have an impact on our lives?

Global warming is already having very concrete consequences on our lives. This summer’s mega-fires in Gironde are directly linked to global warming, as are the conflicts over water that erupted last summer. The modified landscapes of Cantal, the dried up rivers, the vast expanses of degraded nature are also very direct consequences of global warming. We are already suffering the consequences. The scarcity of water, giant fires, monster droughts… are phenomena that will recur.

The situation is global, it will spare no one. Africa is the most affected continent with climate migrants going around in circles, populations facing resource problems that generate conflict and insecurity. It is absolutely necessary to connect all these phenomena.

But we must not wait to be affected ourselves to act.

Natalia: Are IPCC reports still useful?

We could answer positively since the reports are today better relayed and better heard. But the consideration of the major issues described by the reports is not up to par. The answers provided are not strong enough, the increase in emissions continues to be much too rapid. Governments are generally not up to the task. Policies around the world need to be coordinated, but also with the industrial world and civil society.

Elodie: How to encourage politicians around the world to take action?

The IPCC proves that we can derive co-benefits from developing better and preparing to be more robust. All countries have an interest in entering into some form of climate resilience.

One of the conclusions of the reports shows that 10% to 30% of a population must be convinced for the message to be carried by an entire society.

Anne: How to fight global warming?

Levers have been identified and lots of solutions exist. But it takes a holistic approach for the solutions to be effective.

In financial terms, it is necessary to deploy three to six times more resources. Funding exists but it is not directed towards the areas of concern put forward by the IPCC. It is necessary to direct them better and to arrow them. The 100 billion dollars per year provided for by the Green Fund should be fed to finance adaptation and mitigation solutions in the countries of the South.

Maxime: Is it useful to take action when the most polluting countries do nothing?

Of course it is useful! France is an attractive country and it can become a laboratory for demonstrating and implementing solutions that can be deployed across a country. France can thus set an example and will then be able to push at the international level so that solutions are deployed and funding found. We also need a more global fight against inequalities. We need to form a virtuous circle that can have local and international ripple effects.

Anna: What distinguishes the current warming from the different variations that the earth has already experienced?

Yes, there is a variability in the temperature cycle, but there has been a very clear decline since 1880. The advent of industrial society has been accompanied by a rise in temperatures of unprecedented intensity. The explosion in emissions is directly linked to human activity and correlated with the rise in temperatures, accompanied by a multiplication of more intense extreme weather phenomena.

Pierre: Have you seen “Don’t look up”? Have you experienced situations comparable to those in this film?

Yes, there are days when I am still called an ideologue and others when I realize that there is still resistance. Yes we are still considered as certain characters of this comedy but it is more and more rare.

Since the last reports, I have a lot of solicitations from the public, the media or the university. People want to better understand the situation and be informed. I notice a curiosity and a desire to know and to act.

Mathilde: and now what will the IPCC do?

It will continue to publish special reports, particularly on cities. It will also continue to fuel discussions on the action to be taken. It is absolutely necessary that the next decade be exemplary in terms of actions if we want to stay within the limits of 1.5 degrees of warming. The big issue now is that of action.


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