Faced with images painted by countless media stories, there are several choices, including admiration, enthusiasm, indifference, consternation, indignation, anger and laughter. The latter choice is all too rare an opportunity to miss.
The recent March of official representatives of many different countries (People's Climate March) on climate change through New York, for the United Nations General Assembly, shining in the media spotlight, provided an ideal opportunity.
Simply put, although it appeared to cause enthusiasm from those who saw here a willingness on the part of these leaders to finally take care of this serious matter, it triggered a wild laughter in me, followed by great indignation.
Indeed how can one refrain from laughing seeing those who are supposed to rule the world, recognize inadvertently their powerlessness, glowingly pleased with themselves as they march with other protesters? It is like the CEO of a company marching with his employees in order to improve their working conditions! A burst of laughter in particular when seeing the Secretary General of the United Nations walk dressed as a protester, and Ministers clearly quite happy to be there, without realizing the ridiculousness of such a posture.
Fuming also after seeing them admit that they are increasingly less influential in the destiny of the world and on the lookout for the slightest available opportunity to show their satisfied faces on television screens, even at the cost of bringing their function into disrepute. Fuming again after seeing that there was no real serious debate at the United Nations on major issues having to do with the challenges of climate change, and that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointedly recalled, this very week, on behalf of all the emerging countries: « Do not ask us to forgo growth for your comfort; do not ask us to remain in poverty for you to continue to pollute. »
Of course, after the March, no useful conclusions were reached during the meeting of the United Nations. And at this pace of political unpreparedness and media hype, it will be the same, after so many others, for the Paris conference in December 2015.
All serious diplomats know this: No serious agreement can be reached on any subject when there are more than ten people around the table and when negotiations are public, prohibiting any compromise. However, the Paris conference will bring together nearly 200 countries and 40,000 NGO and government representatives! Therefore, it can only lead to a fiasco camouflaged at best into a semblance of agreement of emissions reduction to 30 percent by 2050; an agreement all the more audacious given that today's Ministers will certainly not be there to realize, when the time comes, their demagoguery.
It is essential, therefore, to understand that it is not one more international conference that will resolve these issues; but an initiative by individual countries, in order to reconcile the strengthening of democracy, GDP growth, poverty reduction and controlling greenhouse gas emissions.
This requires a credible answer to four questions:
1. What revolutionary technologies can help there?
2. What forces have an interest in doing everything they can to make this impossible and how to prevent them from causing damage?
3. What changes of mentality can assist there?
4. More generally, how can we ensure that our democratic societies will support the interests of future generations?
To answer these questions, what is required is to cease walking and looking for an opportunity to shine under the spotlight, in order to reflect and act.