Climate Talks, COP24 - Katowice

On Science and Climate Change, a complicated relationship

This article is written by Shu Ting Julie Zhang. 

When Saudi Arabia calls for waiting on including the 6th IPCC report, because of some “gaps” in the 5th report, it makes me wonder what image of scientists people have. Science is no absolute verity and will never be. Experiments and predictions, especially about climate change, can be wrong. There are always uncertainties and gaps, do you remember Popper’s concept of falsifiability?

from The Economist, Dave Simonds

Scientists are not guardians of the truth, neither are they sorcerer’s apprentices. The increasing number of discussions and side-events at COP24 about Carbon Capture & Storage or Carbon Capture & Utilization worries me. Negative emissions are a big part of IPCC scenarios because of the huge number of reports on it. Without surprise, strong lobbies of industries may explain this geo-engineering trend. Instead of trying to maintain our current way of living by finding magic solutions, scientists should put all their energy into reducing carbon emissions. Improving renewable energies, thinking a whole new mobility, developing thermic isolation and creating new forms of habitations for example.

Does SBSTA “note” or “welcome” the IPCC report?

This question on the draft created a lot of debates. I personally don’t care, as long as people read it, even if some of its content is controversial.

ipccThe IPCC Special Report 1.5 is a synthesis of 9 200 scientific studies and the working group of selection is made of the best experts. It is for now, the best tool that we have, but too few policy-makers actually read the summary, which is less than 30 pages. Almost no one will read the whole report.

Maybe that’s for the best, because when you really listen to the whole list of consequences of climate change, it is hard not to have an anxiety attack. If you have the courage to walk through the whole COP24 venue, you may find the little plain IPCC Pavilion, hidden behind the magnificence of others, very far from the plenary session rooms. There, a media workshop took place on Saturday 8th December, where Abdallah Mokssit (Secretary of the IPCC), Jonathan Lynn (IPCC Head of Communications and Media Relations) and Valérie Masson-Delmotte (IPCC WGI Co-Chair), explained the need of more communication to force delegates and governments to have more in-depth views about their work. So spread the word, so that people know the how and the why of the necessity to limit global warming. To 2°C, to 1.5°C, maybe that’s not the real question. To the maximum we can do, that’s the real goal.

ipcc media workshop

About the author: Shu Ting Julie ZHANG is a 2nd year student at the engineering school CentraleSupélec. She’s a member of CliMates and was within the 1st week delegation to attend COP24.

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