There are some Good Signs and some Bad in the Battle against Climate Change
The unwillingness of many governments to fight climate change but at the same time the commitment of many other governments to protect our planet send conflicting signals to populations across the globe. China and the USA are the two largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world (Re.EC Joint Research Center). Regrettably, the current US Administration has not identified climate change as a main national priority. And yet, a recent survey stressed that a strong majority of American citizens -about 8 in 10- say that human activity is clearly fueling climate change (Re.The Washington Post- KFF). And fortunately, local authorities including the States of California, New-York and Washington are at the forefront of the environmental movement. An authoritarian regime such as China can ignore both public opinion and the position of the local authorities. China is currently building new coal-fired power stations with a capacity of 148 Gigawatts, in complete contradiction with its international commitments. In comparison, the entire European park of coal-fired power stations has a capacity of about 150 Gigawatts (Re.Global Energy Monitor). Fortunately, China is also a country which supports significant reforestation projects. But of course, individuals and not only governments must act to address such global and complex challenges. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change which advises the government how to cut the country’s carbon footprint has recently stated that « an upheaval in our lifestyles is the only way to meet targets ». We believe that the majority of us are not prepared to make sacrifices in order to protect our planet. But at the same time, many people have decided to change their lifestyles. That said, and to support this highly complicated process, the international community should concentrate on a few clear targets: Stop the waste of energy in our buildings - End subsidies to the fossil fuel industries - Develop good-quality public transport - Make changes in our eating habits. This is indeed an ambitious agenda which is badly needed for a successful fight against climate change.