“Climate change is not an opinion, science is not an opinion”
Recent times have highlighted the difficulty of sharing scientific data. What is the translation of this?
Pierre Lina The French judgment on the flag is contradictory. Scientific discoveries interest them and even fascinate them. At the same time, the lack of confidence in science is evident. It is clear that the Covid-19 epidemic has reinforced this. It was possible to see a science in the making, a science which had not yet built a solid, which could not say: This is what works. This emerging science has become a topic of conversation. We see swings, live ego struggles, some speak in white, some say in black, and we don’t know who to believe. This has led to the misconception that science is opinion. It also made the knowledge validation process invisible. All of this breeds mistrust.
Has the same phenomenon happened to climate science, which has long faced doubts about the reality of global warming?
Pierre Lina Charney presented the groundbreaking essay on greenhouse gases in a 1979 report. He has already described what has been analyzed in more detail over the next forty years. Of course, what he said triggered the need for verification. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been doing this since its inception in 1988. But what was hunch turned into solid knowledge. Climate change is not an opinion. Science in general is not an opinion. It is laborious, and sometimes hesitant, teamwork that involves making assumptions and taking the time to verify them. This construction allows us to establish the truth. Not the truth, science is not dogmatic, but the truth, that is to say, solid elements on which we can rely. When we get on an airplane, we rely on fluid mechanics, on the strength of materials… that confidence is based on the fact that when data is generated for good, it appears as fact. The same goes for the weather: it is just as important as the fact that a plane is flying.
Discussions are always lively on the changes to be made to remedy this …
Today the science of Pierre Lina is a great source of transformation in our societies. This is particularly the case with climate change. What it teaches us requires that we make decisions that affect our lifestyle, consumption and mobility. However, this change and the speed with which it is being asked to do so is of concern. However, these choices are no longer the responsibility of producing solids: they belong to the realm of ethics, application, action, values and justice. Is it good or bad, human or inhuman to do this or that action? It is not for science to decide whether to choose between an explosion in the number of climate refugees or preserving the profits of any particular enterprise. Vaccination against Covid also presents us with crucial choices. This, for example, was promoted by the World Health Organization to use global immunization capacities to help poor countries rather than providing a third dose or immunizing children in rich countries. It all comes down to ethical questions. It questions the values that are at the source of political and economic choices.