This climate war will be both deep and long-lasting and the distribution of costs is going to be as difficult as it is unbalanced.
I was more frightened by the words of Maisa Rojas, a scientist with the group of experts on climate change (the IPCC), than those of Greta Thunberg. Thunberg speaks from her personal emotions, and from her childhood, the present and the future as a victim of climate change. Rojas, a climatologist, speaks from the position of science and reason about the irreversible acidification of the oceans and its consequences. I don't know how climate change personally affects the Chilean Dr. Rojas. Maybe she spent her entire childhood sailing with her grandfather; hence her love for the oceans. Or maybe she doesn't even know how to swim, and for her, the sea is nothing more than a chemical formula to be studied scientifically. I’ve no idea. I’m not criticizing Thunberg. However, I fear that her overexposure to the media will do her more harm than climate change itself. Given our attention-deficit levels, I would have preferred those three minutes of global viral stardom to have gone to Dr. Rojas to ensure that the public understands why the acidification of the oceans is so severe.
One does not know whether to retreat or rebel when faced with the inevitable need to abandon every cause if emotions cannot be added to the reasoning. In fact, let’s focus on the contradiction. So far, this column has not been about climate change but about the emotions that Thunberg arouses and, strangely for me, I have written it in the first person. This is a sign of the times: feelings amplified via social networks and the hidden reason struggling to emerge from behind that noise.
Climate change is going to be profoundly unfair in its consequences, as the poorest will suffer first and worst. It will also be tremendously difficult to control. From a scientific point of view, it is correct to call it change. But from a political point of view, the right thing to do is to describe it as a war. It will have geopolitical consequences, because it will pit countries against each other, but also political consequences, because it will further divide and polarize our societies. This climate conflict is going to be both deep and lasting and the sharing of costs is going to be as difficult as it is unbalanced. We are going to need a lot of sharp science, but also a lot of sharp politics. But, given what we have seen in New York this week, we will have to be as vigilant against climate change as we are against the millenarians who, in the wake of Thunberg, will stir up the idea of global warming as a moral punishment for a society that is corrupt by shouting, "Penance! Repent! Climate sinners! The world is coming to an end!" And so on.