Jean-Pascal van Ypersele / Former IPCC Vice-Chair / Professor of Climatology

UCLouvain / ancien vice-président du GIEC

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

My concern, which sometimes keeps me awake at night, is that we, humans, are threatening the very inhabitability of the only inhabitable planet in the solar system. The planet itself is fine, it is just a piece of rock. What is at stake is the future of life on its surface. This includes our own species, which depends so much on biodiversity and a stable climate. Right now, we (particularly the richest part of the world population) are sawing the branch on which we are all seated.

Our (my wife and I) way of life is aligned with my concerns, as we essentially decarbonized it. We strongly improved our home insulation, and replaced our oil furnace by a geothermal heat pump. Our PV panels cover our entire electricity consumption, including that of the heat pump and of my small electric car. We eat very little meat, and then it’s of high quality and local. We promote biodiversity in our garden (bees, frogs, trees, flowers, vegetables, no pesticides). We recently went on holiday in Corsica, by train and ship instead of flying: it was wonderful! I spend much of my time to put my climate knowledge at the service of society, through teaching at UCLouvain, lecturing, advising youth, bankers, unionists, businesspeople, priests or freemasons, journalists, and policymakers about the urgency we are facing, and what we can all do about it. I continue to serve the IPCC as much as I can, and I created a French-speaking information platform about its work: www.plateforme-wallonne-giec.be

It was not so difficult to reduce our ecological footprint, because I have the knowledge and the salary I have. My concern is that all should be able to do the same, and live a comfortable, affordable, and low impact life. Otherwise our efforts will be vain.

To allow for this, policymakers should have the courage to strictly regulate all forms of pollution and make all polluters pay much more than today. To avoid increasing inequity, the funds collected needs to be used to help building a low-footprint economy and society where no one is left behind. This will allow the youth who are marching and school striking today to have a future. We also need to partner and share our knowledge and resources with developing countries so they can also benefit from a good life on this beautiful planet, without killing ecosystems on it.

Please check my web page www.climate.be/vanyp, and follow my Twitter (www.twitter.com/JPvanYpersele) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/JPvanYpersele) accounts for knowing more.