Camille Etienne: the climate deserves better than this media bubble, by Cécile Maisonneuve

Camille Etienne the climate deserves better than this media bubble

Camille wrote a book. A major publisher published it. The media are snapping up this young author. It must be interesting, this book, for it to be discussed on all public radio and television. He must say new things, which open new fields of reflection. Let’s be curious, let’s leaf through the introduction. You learn there that there is “a handful of powerful people, who make sure that the established order, which only holds strong from its inequalities and its injustices, is never threatened”; that “it’s the last of the rope who clink glasses so that those who sell the rope still have fun”; that “successive governments have […] chooses powerlessness in the face of the ecological emergency”, that there are “strategies of climate-killing multinationals to stifle the uprising, and delay action”. All these words supported by a few figures, but always “the latest “, as it should be, without forgetting the essential: the one on these 63 French billionaires who emit as much CO₂ as 50% of the French population, resulting from the always rigorous work of Greenpeace and Oxfam. It slaps, it shocks , it clicks: that’s the goal – either “Like” or “Buy”. This is how capitalism works in the digital age. Exploit the system that we denounce when we are at the heart, why not Everyone has the right to cynicism and ambition.

A worrying message

More worrying, on the other hand, is the political message conveyed by these recurring media bubbles that cross the climate debate. From The good, the bad and the ugly, we know that “the world is divided into two categories”, but, naively no doubt, we thought that, since habeas corpus, the French revolutions – 1789, 1848 -, American and some others, the world was divided, politically, between the democratic states of law and the others, not between the “powerful” and “us”, “the army of the powerless”. And we hoped that the leaders of large associations knew, by definition, the distinction between legal person and natural person, when they choose to stigmatize individuals, even if they had the impudence to be billionaires.

The climate subject deserves better than the never be boring dear to Donald Trump. Giuliano da Empoli recalls this, quoting the sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan in Chaos Engineers, this masterful account that describes the chilling encounter between populists and algorithms: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.” And the facts are there, stubborn.

Legal, first. At a time when multilateralism is collapsing under the battering of the return of empires and the great Sino-American rivalry, the very existence of the Paris Agreement of 2015, signed and ratified by almost every country on the planet, and annual climate conferences seem like a miracle. Its implementation is too slow, yes, but those who know how to convince Chinese and Indians to speed up raise their fingers, because it is now there that the scale of global warming is being played out.

Race for green technologies

The facts are also and above all these unprecedented investments in low-carbon industries. The race for green technologies between Chinese and Americans in the 2020s and 2040s is the American-Soviet arms race of the Cold War civilian version: so much the better! And since the times are revolutionizing, let’s talk about the unprecedented one that is happening in 2023: investments in solar energy will exceed those made in oil for the first time in Europe. history of mankind! To the “hundred blooming flowers” of sinister memory, we prefer to evoke the hundred, the thousand or even the millions of innovations that are shaking up the traditional energy system. The latest is a dream: in New York, where 70% of skyscrapers remain heated with gas or oil, the owners of one of them have developed a system to collect the CO₂ emitted by the huge gas boilers of the central heating network, before it is released into the air. The captured carbon dioxide can then be sold to a manufacturer in Brooklyn, who turns it into concrete. Good news: “them” do not exist, there is only us. And we all have the opportunity to do like these New York owners: take action.