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Climate change: mobilising all actors to advance research

  • 25.04.2018

For the 30th anniversary of the IPCC, BNP Paribas and the Catholic University of Lille invited Alexandre Magnan, Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and Franck Chauvin, Head of Environment and Development at the ISA school in Lille (University of agriculture, agribusiness, environment and landscape) to a projection-debate on the subject "Science and politics, do they mix?".

In order to better understand environmental issues pertaining to climate change, the film “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (2017) by Al Gore was screened at the Le Majestic de Lille cinema. This was the opportunity to review the highlights of COP21 and engage around the existing solutions to fight climate change.

Climate emergency: if it is time to act, it is also time to talk about it!

Doctor of Geography, Alexandre Magnan is also a researcher on "Vulnerability and Adaptation to climate change" at IDDRI.  He is involved as an author in the special report on the oceans and the cryosphere, and soon, in the 6th Assessment Report, which will be published in 2022. During his speech, Alexandre Magnan presented his experience in politics to the public, through his scientific projects. How to create a science-decision interface? How to communicate on science? Out of all the stakeholders being mobilised to take action, Alexandre stressed the importance of scientists, policy makers, NGOs and also the general public. 

According to him, several "scientific ingredients" would help to develop better policies and better get the message across to society. In a first instance, scientists need to gain credibility through their publications in dedicated and specialised journals with high visibility. Secondly, these scientists could contribute to simplifying complex and indecipherable messages to non-experts. Finally, any personal commitment must also be relevant and backed by scientific opinion. 

Alexandre also recalls that the Paris Agreement was a success. Concluded on 12 December 2015 at the end of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), this universal agreement was signed by 197 countries. By December 2015, all the signatory parties had committed to act to contain rising temperatures. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump announced the official withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement live from the White House on Thursday June 1st, 2017. What are the consequences of such withdrawal from the Paris Agreement? How can we overcome such a step backwards in the fight against global warming?

Climate action can also be addressed by the territories

The head of Environment and Planning at the ISA school in Lille (Graduate School of Agriculture, Agribusiness, Environment and Landscape), Franck Chauvin came to testify during this screening-debate on the various local initiatives that were set up to support the fight against climate change. "The real action is through the local territories," says Franck.

 Following the "rev 3, the third industrial revolution in Hauts-de-France" model, the paths leading to energy transition are also drawn at the level of the territories. In fact, actors are also mobilised at the local level to establish a sustainable energy model. Progress in terms of adaptation and mitigation should be based on recommendations by experts. By giving the example of Jeremy Rifkin's Third Industrial Revolution, Franck asserts that sustainable growth and the development of renewable energies are also shared through scientific literature and theories

"I’m a student at the University. What can I do to save our planet?"

After the screening of the film, Alexandre and Franck debated with the audience on our scientists’ abilities and our policies to respond together to the issues of global warming. But one question in particular caught their attention, that of a young student of the Catholic University of Lille. What concrete actions can I take to help the environment as a student? Reducing energy consumption, choosing local products, favouring sustainable means of transportation, sorting and reducing waste, evaluating one’s carbon footprint... There are many possible individual actions to protect the environment. Future generations must be made aware, educated and pushed to action to preserve the planet they will inherit. It is now time to take action!  

 Photo header © pb_pictures

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