Interview de l’Ambassadrice en anglais sur les changements climatiques dans le magazine Lice v Lice (FACE TO FACE)
Macedonia, preparing for United Nations climate change conference, in Paris
Sometimes you think international conferences are only made for diplomats and that our worlds are strictly opposed : we would deal with political affairs and people would never know what consequences our decisions have on their day to day lives. We would deal with conflict resolution, preventing wars, and the consequences of them. But it looks so far from real life, with its concrete facts and challenges : earning a living, feeding its own family.
In 2015, French diplomats have to deal with a huge commitment which encompasses all countries and all human activities, a new war : the fight against climate change, the limitation of this inexorable rise of temperature of our earth that threatens the balance of our ecosystems and questions our ways of living. We will organize and host the 21st United Nations climate conference, in Paris, in November. The aim ? To reach a universal agreement that will limit the rise in average global temperatures to 2ºC, compared to the pre-industrial period, by the end of the century. There is real hope for success, but it is the broader and tougher challenge diplomats ever faced. Because it doesn’t only concern negociations and countries, the limitation of global warning is a world campaign to explain to people why in their habits, in the way they use energy, the way they travel they should change the way they think.
I would like to explain why Macedonia is part of this world challenge. I spent ten years in environment negociations, starting with chemicals limitations, that harmed health and damaged the ozone layer. During that period, in 1989, we introduced the catalysers on all private cars in Europe for instance, reducing urban pollution by half in all cities. I kept from this period an immense sense of responsibility : we are tiny individuals but we can do a lot if we move together.
The question is not only for industrial entities to reduce pollution and rich people to stop using private cars, although we know that transportation is a key factor of global warning. And that protecting cities from pollution is a win-win situation : how much society is paying when 20% of the children under the age of 2 suffer from pulmonary diseases ?
Is it mainly about the energy we use. Before Paris Conference, our objective is to create a “global clean energy community” to free us from dependence on fossil fuels and the related risks of conflict. The massive use of fossil fuels – coal, oil, gas – has accelerated conflicts ever since they have been central to our economies. Fossil fuel deposits are very unevenly distributed, leading to dependency, jealousy and often violent competition. It should not be forgotten that control of coal resources on both sides of the Rhine was a core issue in the conflicts between France and Germany. It is thanks to the European Coal and Steel Community and to the reduced dependence on coal that these rivalries have disappeared.
Reducing carbon intensity improves security – energy security and security in general – as it equalizes access to energy. A country that develops its own solar- or wind-energy production takes nothing from anyone : the light and wind that it uses are not only renewable ; they belong to all. We should not underestimate the major contribution this could make to peace and security.
For all countries – the practical means to increase access to energy, while reducing the carbon intensity of economies. This would decrease considerably the risk of fossil fuels becoming a cause of conflict in the coming decades.
Helping countries reduce their exposure to climate damage, and democratizing energy access while reducing carbon intensity are two objectives of the Paris conference and to reach a universal agreement among the 195 states part of it, with the NGO’s and all other possible stakeholders. If we want to achieve this objective – and doing so is essential for humanity – we will not only need diplomats to contribute, but all citizens of this planet.