The barnum is located about thirty meters from the National Assembly, just opposite the Invalides metro exit. Inside, five round tables near which waited, this Monday afternoon, seventeen French scientists, specialists in climate and biodiversity issues.
All that was left was for deputies to stop, before or after picking up their badges and the whole panoply of new elected officials, so that this ephemeral school could get off to a full start. Until Wednesday, they will be able for an accelerated training of half an hour, in order to train on the key points of the scientific consensus on the climate and biodiversity, as well as the main courses of action. “Come whoever wants, whether he is starting his first term or there are several to his credit. And especially whatever his political edge. The approach is non-partisan,” insists Christophe Cassou, CNRS climatologist and author of Intergovernmental Group of Climate Experts (IPCC).
“A world first”
It’s in his head and that of Matthieu Orphelin, former MP since Monday, that the idea of this ephemeral climate school first germinated. Very quickly, “For an ecological awakening”, a group of graduates and young active people mobilized on the climate, comes to lend a hand and an ephemeral group of scientists is set up. From about twenty members at the start, it brought together 35 on Monday, all of whom agreed to give a little of their time to take turns over three days. “This is why the operation is a world first,” continues Christophe Cassou. We reversed the logic. Usually, scientists are solicited by politicians. This time, we are the ones making ourselves available”.
“And these are only big names in their field”, underlines Matthieu Orphelin, as if to better invite the deputies not to miss this training. For the opening of the ball, this Monday, there were in particular the oceanographer Jean-Baptiste Sallée, the geographer Magali Reghezza-Zitt, Michel Colombier, co-founder of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the researcher in atmospheric chemistry Sophie Szopa, the ecologists Philippe Grandcolas and Wolfgang Cramer… The whole forms a coherent whole, to listen to Christophe Cassou. “There are scientists working on very macro issues, some moreover authors of the IPCC or the Ipbes (its equivalent for biodiversity), he begins. But we also have members of the High council for the climate and think-tanks, which will be able to decline these issues on a national or even territorial scale. »
“It is essential that our elected officials are informed, quickly”
At the end of the round tables, a series of documents awaits the deputies. Starting with the summaries of the last three crucial IPCC reports produced by “For an ecological awakening”, with the nice feat of fitting 4,000 pages on a single sheet. “We have also compiled some upcoming legislative deadlines on climate and biodiversity,” continues Léa Falco, member of this collective. It starts this summer with the amending finance bill, or even the National Strategic Plan (PSN), which must apply the new CAP across France. In short: heavy entry. The follow-up is just as crucial, with in particular the “climate energy” programming law, to be voted on before July 1, 2023. It must set the new objectives for French climate and energy policy to align with the – 55% now targeted by the EU.
Enough to give full meaning to these training sessions under the marquee. “These climate and biodiversity issues already condition, and will increasingly condition, planning, health, agriculture policies, etc., explains Philippe Grandcolas. It is essential that our elected officials be aware, quickly, of these issues and of the solutions, in particular those based on nature. »
Train at least 289 deputies in three days
In twenty or thirty minutes, impossible to be exhaustive. “That’s not the goal, explains Wolfgang Cramer. This training should be seen as a first awareness. We are here to show that there are solid, robust, non-partisan facts on which there is a scientific consensus. The ecologist then sees himself as “a guide”, giving the keys to then read past and future reports… A posture on which Christophe Cossou insists: “Scientists are not there only to produce reports, repeats -he. Our role, perhaps overlooked, is also to share this knowledge, to publicize it, to ensure that it is understood. The IPCC and Ipbes reports are of no use if they are not read. »
Still far from being the case? This is the feeling of Matthieu Orphelin, and one of the starting points of the operation. ” In a study carried out by Ademe in 2020, 21% of French parliamentarians said that there was no scientific consensus on the fact that the Earth was warming up, he points out. This consensus is however total. »
Over these three days, the target is to form an absolute majority of deputies. 289, so. This Monday afternoon, it was going slowly. Danielle Simonnet, Nupes MP for the 15th district of Paris, was the first to show up, around 4:30 p.m. There will be no others this first day. “We expected it,” slips Léa Falco, who on the other hand expects around fifty deputies on Tuesday, and whole groups on Wednesday. “That of the Nupes”, she specifies. On the other hand, none of the elected members of the National Rally have announced themselves to date. And Matthieu Orphelin did not believe much in their coming, “Marine Le Pen publicly declined the invitation”, he specified.
“This training should be mandatory”
Be that as it may, “the presidents of groups from the former term of office have all been informed and the operation is relayed on Twitter, continues the ex-deputy. And nothing prevents anyone from alerting his deputy to inform him of the presence of this formation.” The issue of participation is not small. The organizers hope that these three days under Barnum will only be the beginning. “Given the importance of the issues, this training should be compulsory for MPs and not be initiated by groups from civil society,” says Léa Falco. This is the whole demand of the two collectives: that the Assembly take over, by offering a complete, longer, and even continuous training on the term of office. Léa Falco is certain of this: “They will have no trouble finding volunteers from the scientific side”.