What We Must Do
We often have the feeling that there is an absence of dialogue, an uncrossable chasm, between the scientific world and that of the political policymakers. In the case of climate warming associated with human activities, the fact that the IPCC, which is responsible for scientific assessments, was founded by two organizations that came out of the United Nations has largely facilitated the dialogue. Four years after the creation of the IPCC, in June 1992 during the first Earth Summit organized in Rio under the aegis of the United Nations, 156 countries adopted the text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known after 1994 as the Climate Convention. Two other conventions were then held in Rio, one dedicated to the preservation of biodiversity, the other to the struggle against desertification.
The Climate Convention has been ratified by almost every country on Earth (189 governments including the European Community) and is filled with much good sense because the ultimate objective of the convention is “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”1
But that good sense, which consists of taking action because we cannot indefinitely allow the warming of our atmosphere to increase, creates a true challenge, even if the Climate Convention does not fix the level of stabilization that should not be surpassed.