Climate change: security threat or academic dispute?

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France is preparing to host the major international conference on climate and greenhouse gas reduction in December, but it is also the only country in the world still debating human responsibility for the current warming. At the same time, President Obama is telling the US military that climate change is a major security threat and that we must prepare for combat.

Le mensuel La Recherche et le site lemonde.fr révèlent que les climatosceptiques font actuellement leur nid à l’Académie des sciences. Cette grande institution académique française est chargée de rendre un avis sur le réchauffement climatique. Il se trouve qu’à l’occasion de ces travaux, un climatosceptique notoire, Vincent Cortillot, proche de Claude Alègre, a réussi la performance de semer le doute et de tenter de faire annexer au rapport un texte remettant en question la responsabilité humaine et le rôle des émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans le réchauffement climatique. Du jamais vu, non seulement dans les annales du Quai Conti, mais aussi au niveau mondial ! Le mensuel La Recherche écrit : « Aucune grande académie au monde n’a à ce jour fait un tel cadeau aux négateurs de la responsabilité humaine dans le réchauffement climatique ». De quoi atteindre une notoriété mondiale pour cette vénérable institution, mais malheureusement pas pour la qualité de ses travaux.

Vincent Cortillot, of the Academy of Sciences

In thirty years of existence, the deniers have never exceeded a tiny fraction (3%) of the international scientific community. The timing is bad because, as the host country of COP 21, France will be the world's focal point in the battle against global warming.
How did it come to this? Research explains that Vincent Courtillot's maneuvers and Claude Allègre's recovery from health incidents that kept him away from public debate for a while find a sympathetic ear at the very heart of the Academy's governance. One of its two permanent secretaries, Catherine Bréchignac, did not hesitate in January 2015 to assert from the top of her authority that global temperatures had not changed for seventeen years. A short-sighted point of view that was widely controversial by the entire scientific community. A pathetic academic dispute in which peremptory assertions make their honey. The geomagnettist Vincent Cortillot thus puts back the need to force countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions since he says "climate change does not exist or is not due to human emissions of greenhouse gases".

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At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, President Barack Obama, addressing an audience of US military officers, said: "Science is indisputable (...) The planet is getting warmer... Denying climate change or refusing to deal with it is a threat to our national security". Quoted by AFP, President Obama hammers: "You are part of the first generation of officers who will begin to serve in a world where the effects of climate change are clearly felt.
Cautioning against the cost of future changes, he cited an estimate that a 30-centimetre rise in water levels by the end of the century could cost the United States $200 billion.
The White House says the Defense Department has launched a study to assess the vulnerability of some 7,000 U.S. Army bases and facilities. "Along our coasts, thousands of miles of highways, roads, railroads and energy facilities are vulnerable," he said May 20.
Barack Obama poursuit en forme de mise en garde : « A travers le monde, le changement climatique augmente les risques d’instabilité et de conflits et le nombre de « réfugiés climatiques. Aucune nation n’est épargnée. Ne vous y trompez pas, il aura un impact sur la façon dont notre armée doit défendre notre pays, doit s’organiser, s’entraîner, et protéger ses infrastructures ».

With the Paris Conference in prospect, the American president declared himself optimistic that the international community could reach an "ambitious and lasting" agreement to limit the increase in global warming to +2°C compared to the pre-industrial era... Provided that the eminent scientists on Quai Conti do not come to stir up trouble.

Sources : Research, lemonde.fr, AFP

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