The weather has become a major issue in our society. A few years ago, it was still a trivial topic of conversation but it is now being debated in international summits by scientists, politicians, multinational companies and citizens. This is because the weather affects our whole lives.
“Natural” disasters are no longer considered natural, agricultural and industrial productions are developing and geostrategic relationships between nations have changed. The lifestyles of millions of people and their possible forced displacement are at stake, as is the transformation and even the disappearance of entire ecosystems. They all depend on the climate, a simple word that refers to a complex reality that is sometimes hard to understand: temperatures, cloud covering, pollution as well as the temperatures of oceans, the intensity of marine currents… measured over dozens of years.
But things change. Since 1850, eleven out of the past twelve years have been the hottest on record. On average, temperatures around the world have increased by about 0.7 degrees over a century. This does not seem much: fluctuations in temperature from day to day and from hour to hour are often much more noticeable. However, it is in fact huge because the increase in average temperature is measured on a world scale. And it is essential as it is indicative of a profound transformation: we are not only dealing with global warming but with global climate change.
This is only the beginning. Researchers estimate that temperatures will rise by + 2°C to + 6°C by the end of the century. The rate and extent of these changes to come is still uncertain. However, the biggest uncertainty is no longer scientific but rather political and social: will we be able to react fast and effectively enough?