"L'Énergie renouvelable, c'est la vie durable. Ma vision de la transition énergétique où la planète était supposée s'engager" Michel-Pierre Colin
Les conséquences du réchauffement climatique sont parfaitement observables et ressenties par des phénomènes en lente croissance exponentielle : records de sécheresse, inondations, précession des saisons, baisse des récoltes de céréales et de fruits, pénurie et manque d'eau, fontes des glaciers et des pôles, dégel du Cercle polaire Arctique et du continent Antarctique, montée du niveau des océans, acidification et désoxygénation des océans, disparitions des espèces animales marines et terrestres, donc de nos chaînes alimentaires, disparition des forêts tropicales et subpolaires par la déforestation, la réallocation des sols, la sécheresse et les maladies, les feux de forêts déclenchés par la foudre, augmentation des ouragans et typhons en nombre et intensité, les nouveaux phénomènes amplificateurs induits par le réchauffement comme El Niño et les quelques 60 boucles de rétroaction positives.
D’après les auteurs, le scénario initial de 1972 se confirme toujours actuellement, bien qu’il soit basé sur des données de l’époque qui décrivent de façon réaliste la seconde moitié du 20ème siècle. On y constate un décrochage avant 2025 de la production industrielle, de la production agricole (nourriture disponible), de l’espérance de vie, du bien-être humain et des ressources non renouvelables de la planète. Pour l'équipe Meadows, la démographie du système-Terre, marqué par l'instabilité de notre civilisation industrielle, mène à un déclin irréversible et incontrôlé à partir de 2030.
Après avoir tenté divers scénarios, les auteurs décrivent, dans un scénario n° 9, une planète qui aurait cherché, à partir de 2002, à stabiliser sa population et sa production industrielle par habitant, et qui aurait investi dans la lutte antipollution, dans la préservation des ressources non renouvelables et dans l’agriculture.
The announcement had the immediate effect of strengthening the ties of the 200 other signatory countries, the European Union and China at first. American Universities, the largest cities, and some thirty American states continue the effort, with the clear goal of "Make Our Planet Great Again", were the words of the French President of the Republic E. Macron. It remains to be seen whether it is still possible, and under what conditions, to combat climate change so that future generations can still live on our planet.
Biologists describe human beings as a predatory and colonizing species. It grows until it invades its environment, which it exhausts little by little. When it is exhausted, it sets out to invade a new propitious environment. But today man has invaded the whole planet and has largely exhausted it.
Man's behavior is above all that he finds it "natural" to concern himself with his own self-interest, and that he finds mostly just as "natural" to lose interest in the common collective good he is accustomed to entrust to the politicians. They have instituted a democratic system (or not) that is assimilated to a domination of the people by an economic elite disconnected from the majority opinion.
Man is perpetually at war with his fellow men under all possible pretexts, the most ancient of which is religion. Men have been incapable, in tens of thousands years, of getting rid of wars. When they fail to solve a rather complicated political or economic problem, war becomes the only solution to overcome the difficulties encountered. Men are specialists in rebuilding on the smoking rubble of their devastation.
By his "natural" behavior man destroys all the possible habitats that he has invaded and then colonized, but this does not protect him from extinction, for Nature does not give him more guarantee of survival over the long term than the dinosaurs.
Human Footprint and Capitalism
Humanity consumes 1.7 times the capacity of the Earth to renew itself. Decreasing this footprint far below one Earth has become a matter of survival for humanity. But is there a prospect of a decrease in human consumption?
Not at all, because growth is considered indispensable to the capitalist system to pay interest, dividends and bonuses. Even if it were decided to remove them in the name of decreasing, it is not certain that one would know how to go about it.
The inability to pay interest on a debt is called a default. When this disability is widespread, it is called a systemic bank collapse. Banks no longer trust and lend; The companies go bankrupt under the weight of the debts. If the law had separated the deposit banks from the investment banks, the citizen would be presumed not to lose money, which is not the case today. In any case he would no longer be able to borrow. He must save if he wants to develop.
It is the same for companies in a period of decline: to free themselves of debts, no longer harm the environment, clean up, make new with the old.
It can therefore be said that the necessary decrease is incompatible with the present framework of a purely capitalist system.
That is why getting rid of capitalism has become a matter of survival for a humanity that wants to reduce its footprint to a sustainable level.
Rampant growth has triggered the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide (CO2), and more recently methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and many others. These GHGs have led to an increase in average temperatures, known as global warming. In March 2017, our planet suffered an anomaly of +1.25°C compared to the pre-industrial era (before 1750, IPCC definition), more pronounced on land in the northern hemisphere at a record average of 2.47°C.
The consequences of global warming are perfectly observable and experienced by slow exponential growth phenomena: drought records, floods, seasonal precariousness, reduced crops of cereals and fruits, shortages of water, melting of glaciers and poles, thawing of the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic continent, rising ocean levels, acidification and deoxygenation of the oceans, disappearance of marine and terrestrial animal species, and therefore of our food chains, disappearance of tropical and sub-polar forests through deforestation, drought and disease, forest fires triggered by lightning, increased hurricanes and typhoons in number and intensity, new wave-induced amplifier phenomena such as El Niño, and some 60 positive feedback loops.
Thawing of ice caps is irreversible at both poles, in Greenland, in glaciers and in all mountain ranges, with the Himalayas in the forefront. In total, at least 70 meters of rising sea level. But the slowness of the acceleration of these thaws is not suddenly visible in our ports and on our coasts by a surge of sudden water capable of awakening consciences. At the most, houses are rebuilt on higher piles and the streets are raised like in Miami or Long Island.
In Europe, summer harvesting began in June 2017. The drought has been there since the beginning of the year.
Certainly we must stop the production of GHGs, from any origin. Knowing that at the current temperature we can no longer control the release of methane from the shallows that border the Arctic Ocean. The 50 gigatonnes of methane that are supposed to be there will cause a surge in temperatures that experts call catastrophic.
Human beings are well aware of the increase in all these phenomena, but they can not imagine the slowness of this progression year after year nor its exponential growth. They think that a slow progression allows the time to come back later on the phenomenon to take care of it. But the exponential progression of the phenomenon will surprise them sooner or later. This is why they are always behind in the fight against global warming.
Climate change does not wait for man. The effects of most positive feedback amplifier loops were not examined in detail. However, they are known to accelerate (exponentially) and prolong global warming. Consequently, the experts' consensus on a minimum warming of 3°C to 4°C, which is difficult to bear for humans, will be exceeded with certainty.
Over the past 45 years, humanity has been alerted on numerous occasions to the inevitable planetary catastrophe that would ensue to pursue an economic, energetic, demographic, unrestrained growth on a planet with finite (limited) resources.
So, in 1972, Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers and 14 other MIT researchers put the Theory of Systems Dynamics into equations for modeling growth. The Theory of Systems Dynamics stems from the work of Jay Forrester, a professor at MIT, the designer of the Word3 computer model. The original version of Word3 was adapted in Word3-91 and the results, similar to those of 1972, were published under "Beyond the Limits" in 1992. A new adaptation in Word3-03 resulted in the results published in 2004 in English, which we read in French in 2012 under "Les limites à la croissance (dans un monde fini)" which is a French translation of "The Limits to Growth, The 30-Year Update". It was the update in 2004, 32 years later, of the first famous Meadows Report of 1972 which was inspired by Aurelio Peccei, founder of the Club of Rome. As in 1972, the model shows a collapse between 2015 and 2025.
According to the authors, the initial scenario of 1972 is still valid, although it is based on data from the period that realistically describes the second half of the 20th century. There is a decline in industrial production, agricultural production (food availability), life expectancy, human well-being and non-renewable resources on the planet by 2025. For the Meadows team, the demography of the Earth system, marked by the instability of our industrial civilization, leads to an irreversible and uncontrolled decline from 2030 onwards.
After a series of scenarios, the authors describe in a scenario No. 9, a planet which, since 2002, would have sought to stabilize its population and industrial production per capita, and which would have invested in pollution control, conservation of non-renewable resources and in agriculture.
We have seen that man destroys his habitat, the Earth, and finds it "natural". The profits of the wealthiest, based on the debt of the poorest, have led them into an addictive spiral of profits, a capitalism incompatible with the fight against climate change. Men have been alerted for 45 years on the collapse that was to occur at the beginning of the 21st century, jeopardizing all the living species on the planet.
Scientists have produced hundreds of peer-reviewed reports published in scientific journals such as Science or Nature. In recent years, several authors have put these reports in perspective, to create a true awakening of consciousness and here is my selection of their books:
A political consensus was reached at COP21 in December 2015 to limit warming to between 3°C and 4°C (efforts announced by all countries) although the official objective is 2°C and if possible 1.5°C. In response to these objectives, the March 2017 measures showed an overall warming of 1.25°C compared to the pre-industrial era and an average of 2.27°C on land in the northern hemisphere. These figures are to be watched as milk on fire.
We know that we have generated phenomena of acceleration and prolongation of the warming which will lead us well beyond the announced efforts. Because we had already crossed the tipping point of the warming temperatures at the end of the El Niño episode in April 2016. Beyond this tipping point it is known that it is impossible to return to the stable temperatures of yore .
Since we have entered the unknown zone of warming, where we can not predict at what temperature level this will stop, despite chimerical geo-engineering, announced but never deployed.
As a conclusion
There are, however, things to be done at the local level to create the resilient conditions for possible future life. A transition to another society forces us to have our imagination working, so to tell stories to reverse these spirals of violence and pessimism. Stories that reject any cognitive dissonance and denial. Let us be the transitioners who invent their own future. Because transition initiatives free people from these feelings of impotence so toxic and widespread in the population. The urgent need is to rebuild a solid and vibrant local social fabric, with a climate of trust, that is to say a real "social capital" which can be used in case of disaster.
Transitioners (who think "we are all in the same boat") often non-violent, collectivist, call for a transition on a large scale, because life no longer makes sense if everything collapses. Practicing openness and inclusion, they are convinced that the future lies in eco-villages, mutual aid and the transitional imagination. They think "together we go further".
Nevertheless, the transition is still very small at the moment. And it is not certain that we are not overtaken by abrupt, exponential growth phenomena, capable of annihilating large-scale transition efforts.
Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester, argues that there is a 95% risk that action against climate change is not robust enough to contain the growth of global warming below the target of 1.5°C to 2°C. He thinks there is still a small 5% chance of success. Paul Jorion, an anthropologist and sociologist, believes that mankind is not mentally equipped to face this challenge that now seems to go beyond it.
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