World News: COP26 and The Nature of Man

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While all the countries participating in COP26 agree on the need to act in the light of the climate emergency, the challenge of the summit is focused the obligation to draw up a common action text.

Determining text, acceptable and achievable by all, other than outdated observation of the environmental situation have proven to be more difficult than originally suspected.

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While the international climate conference (COP 26) is being held in Glasgow (Scotland) until 12 November, some are wondering what has been done or will be done to limit the rise in global temperatures in order to avoid an irreversible global climate situation. And if these questions are legitimate, the question to ask, however, is not so much what has been or will be done but rather who will want to do what thing.

It now seems very useless, and moreover very hypocritical, to administer the good and bad points to this or that nation that shines by their action in favor of the climate. At most we can praise their involvement, which testifies to their awareness and their willingness to act.

But of the nearly two hundred countries gathered in Scotland, it must be admitted unvarnished and bluntly, that apart from shattering and catastrophic statements heard by a polite and silent audience that have so far been timid declarations of intent, it is indeed the will to act that is lacking to date. 

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Disdain for the environmental cause? Underestimating the climate emergency? These are two questions which could explain the discretion of the countries represented, but which in the end are only in last place in the ranking of the inertia of these same nations.

Green and Post-industrial Revolutions

The reality is quite different and the soaring prices of fossil fuels, among other things, are the perfect illustration of this. Developed countries, mainly Western or located in the northern hemisphere, cannot, as it stands, afford to initiate green revolutions.

If the United States, Europe and China together account for half of the world's carbon dioxide emissions (i.e. the three major global trade zones Europe - United States - Asian façade), all three know that their common and individual prosperity is based on carbon-based industrial logics and mechanisms and that they are embarking on a process of ecological transition, even limited, would carry extremely risky economic breakthroughs.

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Evolving in a post-industrial world, where heavy industry has given way to a tertiarization of economies coupled with agrowing domination of new information technologies and its standard bearers (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft), the world's major economic powers find themselves forced into a set of realities that weigh their survival against that of the planet, knowing that the future of the second conditions that of the first.

Sacrifice and Response

More than a Gordian knot, this is most certainly the worst dilemma that humanity has ever had to decide. And yet, it will be necessary to choose sir! But this heavy sacrifice, and it is, sends Man back to his ultimate and vital entrenchments, freed from any comfort quick to guarantee an existence rocked to the rhythm of a technical progress acclaimed but oh so destructive from an environmental point of view.

So, what to expect from this summit? The most optimistic will argue that a compromise will be found; the most pessimistic that the point of no return has already been reached. There is still no need to believe that the truth is in between. Because if a response to the climate emergency is to be proposed, it must be designed for and by all, developed and undeveloped countries, each with different, sometimes divergent, or even opposite interests.

This is perhaps where the real stake of this summit lies, which for the time being has only ever pushed open doors. Developing a common response in a divided world, to development gaps such that for some the climate issue is a secondary or even tertiary concern. Should we blame them...?

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Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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