Diego Horcajada, August 2018.
August 28th was a significant day in the farce of politics dealing with the biggest threat to humanity: climate change. Nicolas Hulot, today former French Minister of the Ecological and Solidarity Transition (Ministère de la transition écologique et solidaire) resigned of his duties during an interview at France Inter.
The reason: he does not want to lie to himself any more, he does not want his presence in the government taken to mean the France leaders are taking the steps required to fight climate change. He acknowledged though some small steps, but he recognised those small steps are far to be at the level of the challenge humanity is facing.
I do respect Mr Hulot for his courage and honesty.
He has been criticised by a former government colleague for not taking “the most basic of courtesies” to communicate his resignation. I did not know if I wanted to cry or to laugh, when I read it (basic courtesies). In a true and honest democracy, we all expect the basic courtesies from the politicians deciding about the wellbeing of their fellow citizens. Instead, we witness the farce and discourtesies of politicians too easy to be influenced by industrial lobbies.
The short term perspective has corrupted the economy and the politics: most business leaders do not see beyond next quarter results, and most politicians do not see beyond the duration of a mandate. Additionally, the perpetual confrontation of political parties prevent the alignment on common urgent issues such as the degradation of welfare state, the environmental crisis and climate change. This is the perfect environment for industrial lobbyist to deploy their negotiating and influencing skills, in other words to open their checkbooks.
Few weeks ago, I was vivedly recommended to read an article from York Times: “Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change” by Nathaniel Rich. Not a short reading (44 pages) but a very enlightening one. In words of his editor Jake Silverstein “This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change… …this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it.”
Today, I cannot but see the connection between Rafe Pomerance (key personage in Nathaniel Rich narrative) and Nicolas Hulot. They are to me two examples of the many brave and courageous “Davids” fighting the greed and short sight of many politicians and business leaders.