Global warming of +1°C in one century has already reached +1.5° in the land masses. A worldwide scientific consensus attributes this global warming to the excess greenhouse effect induced by the emission of more than 1400 billion tons of carbon dioxide (400 Gt of fossil carbon) since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
This emission, which is constantly increasing, has propelled the atmospheric concentration of CO2 from its natural value (280 ppm) to 410 ppm measured in 2019. The relative contributions of other gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs and ozone bring the balance to 500 ppm CO2 equivalent. Current emission rates (50 Gt /year) will lead to a doubling of the natural concentration by 2050. According to a July 2020 study, such a doubling will lead to an increase in the global temperature, estimated at between +2.6 and +3.9°C. In the polar regions, these increases of +6 to 8°C will irreversibly affect the cryosphere, eventually causing the Arctic Ocean ice pack and permafrost to disappear and the melting permafrost will release methane, thus reinforcing the greenhouse effect. The glaciers, ice shelves and ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica will contribute to the acceleration of the rise in the level of the world ocean. Currently around 4 to 5 mm/year, and growing strongly, especially if continental ice contributes more and more, this rise will by 2100 involve the submersion and/or salinization of coastal areas located at an altitude of less than one meter, in areas where major urban and industrial infrastructures are installed. Climatic hazards and risks will thus increase for a growing population.
These facts corroborated by the majority of scientific experts (IPCC and NOAA) and the often very watered-down forecasts that result from them remain neglected by political decision-makers. The result is a catastrophic delay in the implementation of proactive policies aimed at limiting warming below 1.5° compared to the pre-industrial era. This is despite the adoption of political measures or legislation.
Faced with this urgent and global challenge that requires collective mobilization, Aix-Marseille University has made the issues of Climate, Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility a cross-cutting theme of its entire policy, relying on the individual and collective mobilization of the university community. AMU is committed in particular by setting up a CLIMATE Council made up of university scientists and experts from civil society, committed to the fight against global warming. This council will enlighten AMU's policy lines on climate emergency issues: impacts of anthropogenic activities on the climate and the environment, induced effects on biodiversity and on the depletion of natural resources. The board will address the social and societal aspects of the causes and consequences of global warming. It will give advice for the implementation by AMU of strategies, in all its fields of competence (Research, Observation, Teaching and Dissemination of knowledge) and within the framework of its professional activity (heritage policy, mobility of staff and students, to warn about the climate crisis and help reduce its impacts.
Its lines of thought concern the three missions of the University.
- Research and Observation: To promote and encourage projects aimed at accelerating the production of results on key themes and the implementation of solutions on the scale of economic and societal systems, particularly in relation to emerging countries. The Climate Council may suggest thematic links between the Institutes of sites dedicated to the Environment, Energy, Social Sciences, Economic Sciences and Legal Sciences. The integrated approach of the peri-Mediterranean regions will be favoured, in particular through geophysical, atmospheric, sociological and economic observations. Interdisciplinary and inter-domain projects on climate sciences will thus be able to participate in the evaluation of the stakes and chances of success of the different strategies for mitigation, adaptation and adaptation, from regional to global scales.
- Training and the training/research link
- The Council promotes the dissemination of Climate Sciences and climate emergency through initial and continuing education, either to all university courses of study as an essential general culture, or to scientific courses as a specialization (e.g. organization of a transdisciplinary diploma "Climate Sciences" carried by several components (Master or DU).
- The council also has the task of linking and relaying climate-related initiatives carried out by the Site Institutes, in order to promote common lines of action and help define international thematic Masters (notably financed by A*MIdex). This in order to put in synergy the existing and the projects registered in the CIVIS University.
- It contributes to the strategies of scientific mediation of the University towards schoolchildren and the general public. These actions are implemented by a network of motivated referent teachers, in connection with the Institute of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, as well as with the CIPE, in particular for the transfer of skills to secondary school teachers, in agreement with the rectorate.
- The council contributes to reflection, expertise and critical and shared analysis of climate-related subjects, with a view to communicating, in the event of consensus and with the agreement of the AMU President, opinions to local authorities and regional and national bodies.
- Theexperiences and opinions of foreign members are considered in the light of their adaptation to the local, regional and national context of AMU. In reciprocity, the Council strives to provide support and cooperation to its foreign members.
The Climate Council provides its expertise, in line with AMU's Sustainable Development policy, on the impact of the activities and operating methods of services and personnel and their adaptation to drastically reduce AMU's S.E.G. emissions. AMU is already positioning itself on the energy transition and its 3 levers (energy sobriety, energy efficiency and renewable energies), on sustainable mobility, including the implementation of teleworking and the use of GHG-saving means of communication.
In conjunction with the Sustainable Development Department and with the help of the Communication Department, the Climate Council's communication actions are developed via, for example, a WEB page, which can be populated by members of the Council, in agreement with the Climate Council coordinators.
Specific and earmarked funding for the climate council will be allocated from the budget line of the Sustainable Development Department. Additional funds may be requested, for example, from the CIVS, AMIDEX and PIA.
The programming of a "CLIM @ AMU" conference, coordinated by the moderator and the co-chair of the climate council, is part of the roadmap. The scientific committee and the steering committee will be composed of the members of the climate council and the members of the sustainable development committee. The first meeting of the Council took place on 10 September 2020 in the Amphithéâtre GASTAUT (Pharo) with several of its members by videoconference, due in particular to the COVID crisis.