The recent period has highlighted the difficulty in sharing scientific data. What is the translation of this?
Pierre Lina The French judgment on the flag is contradictory. Scientific discoveries interest them and even fascinate them. At the same time, the lack of confidence in science is evident. It is clear that the Covid-19 epidemic has reinforced this. It was possible to see a science in the making, a science that had not yet built a solid, that could not say: This is what works. This emerging science has become a topic of conversation. We see oscillations, ego struggles live, some speak in white, some say in black, and we don’t know who to believe. This has led to the misconception that science is an opinion. This also made the knowledge validation process invisible. All this breeds mistrust.
Has the same phenomenon happened to climate sciences that have long faced doubts about the reality of global warming?
Pierre Lina Charney presented the groundbreaking essay on the topic of greenhouse gases in a 1979 report. He already described what was analyzed in greater detail in the next forty years. Naturally, what he said triggered the need for verification. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been doing this since its inception in 1988. But what was intuition has turned into solid knowledge. Climate change is not an opinion. Science in general is not an opinion. It is a laborious, and sometimes hesitant, team building that consists of putting forward hypotheses and taking the time to verify them. This construction allows us to establish the truth. Not truth, science is not dogmatic, but truth, that is, solid elements that can be relied upon. When we board a plane, we rely on fluid mechanics, on the strength of materials… This confidence is built on the fact that when data is seriously generated, it emerges as fact. The same is true of weather: it is just as important as the fact that an airplane is flying.
Discussions are still lively about what changes need to be made to tackle this…
Today the science of Pierre Lina is a great source of transformation in our societies. This is particularly the case with climate change. What it teaches us requires that we make decisions that affect our lifestyle, consumption, and mobility. However, this shift and the speed with which it is being asked to do so are of concern. However, these choices are no longer the responsibility of producing solids: they belong to the realm of ethics, application, action, values and justice. Is it right or wrong, human or inhuman doing this or that action? It is not up to science to decide whether to choose between an explosion in the number of climate refugees or the preservation of this or that company’s profits. Vaccination against Covid also brings us face to face with crucial choices. This, for example, was promoted by the World Health Organization to use global vaccination capabilities to help poor countries rather than provide a third dose or vaccinate children in rich countries. It all comes back to ethical issues. It questions the values that are the source of political and economic choices.