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Why governments should stop considering climate change as a losing game? We’ve been hearing about climate change for several decades now. Environmentalists, economists, politicians, scientists, sociologists, and many others, have been fighting on what we now call “climate change”.

Yet, it seems that we, society and governments, are still confused about what to do with it.

Although governments agree to “protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind” (UNFCCC, Article 3)

We haven’t been able to fully engage in the fight against climate change.


We know what went wrong: an economic development that relied on dirty energy sources

Industrial revolution + Fossil Fuels = Increase of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere > global warming of the Earth

The equation seems simple, but we need to add other factors: population growth (7 bn today, 8-11 bn in 2050),development of “younger�countries (China, India, Brazil), consumption society, increasing deforestation, economic crisis, political pressures, industrial lobbys, global poverty...

Climate change is a cross-cutting issue that calls for an inclusive, participatory, paradigm changing and long lasting solutions


Image by Veolia

The extent of the problem is BIG and involves EVERYONE

In less than 2 centuries, the human species “developed� more than over the last 200 000 years.

Image: http://www.humains-associes.org/

Population boom, economic growth, technology revolution, health improvement, education, communication, culture and globalisation... We live in a world that is very different from the one our grandparents grew up in.

The problem ? This modern world was built on the destruction of its own foundations: the natural resources

PIXAR Animation Wall e


Photo by Yasuaki Kagii

As a result, climate change is the biggest threat faced by humankind as it jeopardizes the livelihoods and development of a great majority of people on Earth

Independent climate scientists around the world agree that “climate change is unequivocal” (IPCCC AR5), that it is man-made and call for “urgent action”

Many international agencies working on development and climate change have been warning our policy makers about the disastrous impacts of climate change

The latest World Bank Report, Turn Down the Heat, clearly demonstrates “Why a 4°C world must be avoided”


Photo by Tobias Shwarz

A world where global mean temperature would have increased by 4°C would not be world we would like to live in, or even, could live in...

In a 4°C world, arable lands in low-latitude regions (Africa, Latin America, India) would decrease, about 10% of South Asia’s agricultural land would be exposed to inundation, about 40 to 50% of global cropland would be affected by droughts (Africa, US, Southern Europe, Brazil, Southeast Asia)...

Phil Moore/AFP

In a 4°C world, where agricultural systems are affected, malnutrition, vulnerability to illness, spread and multiplication of pathogens, but also conflict and violence are likely to increase

In a 4°C world, about 20 to 30% of plant and animal species that we know will risk extinction


In a 4°C world, increase of surface temperature, changes in ocean pH and more intense tropical cyclones would result in coral bleaching and adversely impact marine ecosystems

This would put in jeopardy the livelihood of approximately 500 million people depending on coral reefs around the world (WB Report Figures )

Image by Kevin Frayer

In a 4°C world, other climate change induced phenomena such as ice melting, sea level rise, fresh water scarcity, extreme weather events like droughts and floods, will affect the livelihoods and development of all of us

Although it is now certain that we have a lot to lose with climate change, our political leaders often lack of strong will to tackle the problem. Is it because the “enemy” has no material form? No borders? No political or economical identity?


If governments don’t react to the threat of climate change, they would perhaps take the actions required to limit global warming temperature by 2°C if they could picture their benefits in doing so.

What if governments were going to the UNFCCC negotiations thinking that they will be victorious if they do take commitments to seriously tackle climate change?

What if citizens of all nations could picture a world without climate change and want this world?

They would be able to make more sensible choices and enable their political leaders to keep their promise of protecting the world for present and future generations.


We do have the technological solutions, diplomatic relations and economic power to complete the energy transition we need to carry out to avoid a 4°C world

A world with clean air and water, protected biodiversity, food and water security, sustainable global economy and improved livelihoods. This is not an utopia , this is a realistic world were the interest of humankind is brought back up as a priority.

What we need to do is change the paradigm: from a threat to the world we know to the creation of a better world, let’s call on our governments to avoid a 4°C world! So let’s sign this petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/fr/petition/Governments_o f_all_nations_around_the_world_Avoiding_a_4degC _world/

By Charlotte-Fleur Cristofari. Inspired by the World Bank Report “Turn Down the Heat, Why a 4°C world must be avoided”. February 2014

World Bank Coursera Turn Down the Heat  

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