When the youth goes up to the front for the climate

On Friday, students from more than hundred countries have been on strike for the climate. Young people who make strong criticisms of the inaction of their leaders, and who will suffer the impact of the measures lukewarm taken to combat the climate crisis. And if they had reason to climb to the front ?

You speak only of an eternal economic growth, “green”, because you’re too afraid to be unpopular. You don’t talk about that going forward, with the same bad ideas that have led us into this quagmire. You are not mature enough to say things as they are. Even this burden, you leave it to us, the children. “

This advocacy, it is the one of Greta Thunberg. The young Swedish at the age of 15 years, completely unknown, is addressed to the political leaders for the last day of the 24th Conference of the UN on climate (COP24), last December. She delivers with aplomb a speech without equivocation, but in front of a room practically empty.

It derogates not yet his speech, intended for the delegates of 195 countries meeting in Poland, who have failed to raise the ambition of climate in the world, despite the threat hanging over the planet. “You say that you love your children […], but you destroy their future before their eyes “, let it fall.

Became viral on social networks, the video has circled the globe in a few days, making the young girl initiated the development of a global movement of ” student strike for the climate.” After having started only a campaign of strikes weekly every Friday since August 2018, things change dramatically after the COP24. In a few weeks, walkouts similar to multiply, of the United States to Japan by way of Australia, Germany or Belgium.

Quebec followed suit

Everywhere, the youth message is the same : “We are the future with no voice of humanity. We will no longer accept this injustice. “He made his way to Quebec, in the wake of the movement” The planet is invited to the Parliament “, originally a protest of tens of thousands of people in Montreal last November, and the “Pact for the transition,” which was signed by approximately 266 000 people. Without forgetting the ” Declaration of climate emergency “, supported by more than 300 municipalities.

It is in this context that was born the group “The planet is invited to the university,” the initiative of the students gathered in the café of anthropology, University of Montreal, tells the story of Louis Couillard, a student in international studies, a member of the collective spearhead of the strike movement from 15 march to Quebec.

“More and more young people have the feeling that it is too late. It is important to fight against this, otherwise you will not be able to get there, ” he said, surprised by the magnitude taken by the movement in a month.

To combat the climate crisis, Raphael Leblanc, for its part, chose to act ” in everyday life “, but also to be involved in student movements. This young engineering student at the École de technologie supérieure (ETS), who are well aware of the scientific reality that “shocking” of global warming, said, “even more shocked” by the warmth of the solutions advanced. “All the world is informed, no one can put the head in the sand. But it worries me to see the light of proposed solutions. Governments need to look carefully at what needs to be done to reduce global warming. Individual actions are not enough “, lance-t-il.

The call of these young people to their elders — who hold the reins of political and economic power — could not be more clear. “Policymakers must understand that the statements where they say they work for the future generations no longer suffice. Young people want far-reaching changes now. It is necessary that decision-makers understand that, ” insists the director-general of Environment, youth, Catherine Gauthier.

A world threatened

Politicians can no longer ignore the cry of the heart of a part of the youth. Publicly, they all say they want to combat the climate crisis on behalf of the young generations. However, even if multiple scientific studies demonstrate, none of them would admit it out loud, in Quebec and in Ottawa, that a failure global climate is emerging, with potential irreversible consequences for life on Earth.

It is, however, in a world in upheaval that will live in the youth of today in 30, 40 or 50 years, when their elders are gone, repeat the strikers of the climate. A world where will an increase in extreme climatic events, where climate refugees will be numbered in the millions, which are becoming scarce agricultural land and water resources, where biodiversity will be irreversibly threatened.

In the Face of this disaster is apprehended, Violaine Brisebois-Lavoie, professor at the collège de Bois-de-Boulogne (where students supported the strike), says he is “proud” of the mobilization of young people around the issue of climate change. “They know it’s going badly, that we are not doing much of anything. And it is anguish. They know that the impacts will be worse and want that something is happening. “

Disclaimer global

The sociologist Eric Pineault, who is staying for a few months in Germany, finds that there is also a “ras-le-bol” of young people, as well as” a feeling of impatience very palpable “. “For the moment, it is a mobilization very spontaneous with a speech not very organized, but it takes shape. The young people talk about such “limits” to be set at the economic growth, or to put an end to the exploitation of fossil fuels. Some even speak of no longer taking a plane. It goes deeper than the anti-globalization movement in the social changes that are claimed. “

Mr. Pineault also perceives in this speech as a ” repudiation of sustainable development “, a term overused in the past couple of years. “They tell us : “For 25 years, and you promise to resolve this issue, but you do nothing. No one believes you anymore.” “

A speech played by the young Greta Thunberg in Davos. “The adults do not cease to repeat that it is necessary to give hope to young people. But I don’t want your hope. […] I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear that I feel every day. […] I want you to do something as if the house was on fire, because that is precisely what is happening. “

Achieving 2050

The steps to take to limit global warming to 2 °C

GHG emissions
Slash CO2 emissions by 45 % by 2030 (compared to 2010). Achieve a “zero net” CO2 emissions to 2050.

The transition to a diet of “flexitarienne” or “herbal” will be required to limit GHG emissions related to the production of meat. On a global scale, it will be necessary to reduce by an average of 75 % the consumption of red meat. In Canada, this decrease would be of the order of 85 %, the adoption of only one meal with meat per week.

In a context where the global population is expected to reach more than nine billion people by 2050, humanity should make a significant effort to reduce more than 30 % of its total energy consumption, and this, compared to the consumption level of 2010. The IPCC referred in addition to the marked development of the nuclear sector, in order to “decarbonise” power generation.

The road transport weighs heavily in the carbon footprint in the world (43 % of Québec’s overall GHG, in 2016), the electrification of the sector is therefore seen as a priority. The Trudeau government aimed to ensure that 100 % of the cars sold in Canada in 2040 will be electric.

Sources : intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), Nature (October 2018)

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