The battle against global warming: an absurd,costly and pointless crusade

Société de Calcul Mathématique SA
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The mastiff Liberty growls and shows its sharp teeth.
VictorHugo: Les Châtiments (Castigations)

Summary

From the Seine‘s cold quays to the Ganges‘ burning shores,
The human troupe skips and swoons with delight, sees not
In a hole in the ceiling the Angel‘s trumpet
Gaping ominously like a black blunderbuss.

Charles Baudelaire: La Danse Macabre (The Dance of Death),
in Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil)

All public policies, in France, Europe and throughout the world, find their origin and
inspiration in the battle against global warming. The initial credo is simple: temperatures
at the surface of the planet have been rising constantly for the past thirty years, and
human beings are to blame.

This is leading to all sorts of discussions, conferences and regulations, which are having an
enormous impact on our economy. Every area of activity is affected: transport, housing,
energy – to name just a few. Why do we need to save energy? It is quite simple: we have to
reduce human impact on the planet. This is the fundamental credo.

The impact on the entire field of scientific research is particularly clear and especially
pernicious. No project can be launched, on any subject whatsoever, unless it makes direct
reference to global warming. You want to look at the geology of the Garonne Basin? It is,
after all, an entirely normal and socially useful subject in every respect. Well, your research
will be funded, approved and published only if it mentions the potential for geological
storage of CO2. It is appalling.

The crusade has invaded every area of activity and everyone‘s thinking: the battle against
CO2 has become a national priority. How have we reached this point, in a country that
claims to be rational?

At the root lie the declarations made by the IPPC, which have been repeated over the years
and taken up by the European Commission and the Member States. France, which likes to
see itself as the ‘good boy of Europe‘, adds an extra layer of virtue to every crusade. When
others introduce reductions, we will on principle introduce bigger reductions, without ever
questioning their appropriateness: a crusade is virtuous by its very nature. And you can
never be too virtuous.

But mathematicians do not believe in crusades; they look at facts, figures, observations and
arguments.

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