The successive COPs force us to see the inadequacy of our action
COP27 opened on 6 November. One more, you will say and you won’t be wrong. These major international conferences that follow one another would end up making you dizzy. Fight against global warming, protection of the oceans, biodiversity, support for Ukraine, Lebanon, Syrian refugees, the leaders of the planet meet everywhere, all the time and it is an understatement to say that the effectiveness of these high masses questions.
From solemn declarations to pledges, from paper pledges to formatted speeches, these events in which my successive lives as a diplomat and then as a politician have made me participate, I must admit that I am not really getting used to them. There is a long way from cuts to lips, from flamboyant words to concrete results!
A hundred times we have committed ourselves to a new partnership with Africa for the benefit of the younger generations. We have repeated a hundred times that only a political settlement would allow the return of refugees to Syria. A hundred times we have repeated that our planet is burning and that we are looking elsewhere. For what results? How far have we kept the promises we made, how often have we failed to fulfill our commitments and translate our words into deeds? How can we be surprised that public speaking has lost so much weight when we collectively misuse it?
When we think of international mobilization against climate change, COP21 serves as a reference and makes us all the more proud that it was held in Paris. However, the commitments made there were not sufficient to achieve the objectives set there. Worse still, these commitments are not kept.
As the Sharm El-Sheikh conference opens, air traffic is picking up like never before, the biggest liner ever built is preparing to sail the seas, everywhere the world is panicking to find gas and ensure that it will not cost too much, coal-fired power stations have reopened, countries in the South dream of exploiting the oil resources at their disposal, electric cars are still out of reach for many and their sales are progressing little, the summer was scorching in Europe and Pakistan spent it under record floods. Greta Thunberg will snub COP27 as she has snubbed previous ones. What if she was right?
Yet… Since the planet has had a fever, the successive COPs have served as a thermometer and force us to see the extent of the climate emergency as the inadequacy of our collective action. Each head of state, each leader who goes to Sharm El-Sheikh comes both to give an account and to ask for it. Of course, each leader has learned his score. But at a time when the reality of climate change can no longer be denied by anyone, this confrontation with public opinion and that of his peers is for each head of government a passing exam that he cannot eternally pass by cheating. .
Beyond that, COP27 will be, like the previous ones, an opportunity to advance the understanding of the issues among the populations of all the participating countries. Media coverage of this ritual remains strong and encourages the press to return to the climate emergency and to describe it frankly. Would she do it with as much systematics if this meeting was no longer organised?
Finally, each COP is much more than a meeting between official representatives of all the countries of the United Nations system, a meeting with often difficult debates and often disappointing results. It also brings together experts from around the world whose exchanges are a considerable enrichment for knowledge of the forms and effects of climate change as well as solutions and best practices in terms of mitigation and adaptation. These exchanges alone are irreplaceable and no expert, however disappointed in the lack of audacity of official decisions, would want to abolish the COP.
It remains to regain the momentum of COP21, and it is up to each of us to understand that the fight against climate change is a fight for our survival, everyone’s business and that it is not enough to think about this what others should do but to choose, resolutely, to act for our planet, with the optimism of the will.