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PARIS: “It is inflation due to hydrocarbons, due to supply. If 20 years ago you invested in photovoltaics or took shares in a wind farm, then today you are not affected” by this crisis, observes Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

“Since 1990 we have been saying to move away from an economy based on fossil fuels in favor of an economy based on renewable energy. And now here we are – we are hitting the wall”, after “30 years of underinvestment”, observes the scientist, one of the main architects of the concept of “planetary limits” – thresholds of use of resources that humanity must not exceed in order to live in a safe ecosystem.

The first scenario, dubbed “Too little, too late”, would see economic orthodoxy persist, aggravating inequalities as the world surpasses the Paris Agreement targets and moves towards 2.5 ° C warming now.

Rockström worked for two years on his contribution to the collective report “Earth For All: A Survival Guide for Humanity”, published Tuesday by the Club of Rome, this think tank of scientists and economists founded in 1968.

The book is in line with the famous Meadows report, published in 1972 under the aegis of the Club of Rome. This reference document, at the origin of the book “Stop Growth?” (“Limits to Growth”), argued that development could not continue indefinitely without reaching a resource consumption limit.

The second scenario, that of the “Great Leap”, foresees an unprecedented mobilization of resources to implement five social changes.

Fifty years later, the new report, which included the authors of the first, predicts two growth scenarios.

The former, dubbed “Too Little, Too Late”, would see economic orthodoxy persist, aggravating inequality as the world surpasses the Paris Agreement targets and for the time being moves towards 2.5 ° C warming by 2100 compared to the end of the 19th century.

The second scenario, that of the “Great Leap”, foresees an unprecedented mobilization of resources to implement five social changes: the eradication of poverty and inequalities, the emancipation of women, a more global food vegetation and the rapid decarbonisation of power.

“Here we are: at 1.1 ° C, the phenomena we thought we would see at 2 ° C happen much earlier and hit harder.”

The authors argue that the International Monetary Fund should donate $ 1 trillion a year to poorer nations to create green jobs and that rich countries should cancel the debt of those with low incomes by giving their citizens a “base. universal dividend “.

catastrophic scenario

For Rockström, the world has reached a “tipping point” as climate-related disasters – with current warming of 1.1 ° C since the industrial age – occur more frequently than expected.

“Here we are: at 1.1 ° C, the phenomena we thought we would see at 2 ° C are happening much earlier and are hitting harder,” he explains, after a summer marked by record drought and heat in Europe and China, and catastrophic flooding in Pakistan.

“We risk entering an apocalyptic scenario, not because we are injecting more carbon dioxide and anthropogenic greenhouse gases, but because the Earth system itself is starting to emit these gases,” given the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the increase in fires. wooded.

Scientists should “consider a much wider range of scenarios” in order to better integrate phenomena that are certainly unlikely but extremely devastating and that could lead to uncontrolled warming.

However, Rockström says he is “rather pessimistic” about the ability to reform governments. “Three years ago I would have said I was optimistic: we have seen a post-Paris momentum with a greater involvement of public policy and business,” he said.

“Maintenant, avec l’effondrement post-Covid de la confiance du public et la montée du populisme, je n’ai pas l’impression que nous soyons vraiment prêts à mettre en œuvre tous ces pas de géant”, s’inquiète-t -they.

“That’s why timing is really important. We need to relaunch the debate and talk about the urgency to act. Is it a challenge? Absolutely.”

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