Climate change…yes, it’s real

On Tuesday 14 May, a conference entitled “The impact of climate change on vineyard management and winemaking”, in partnership with Wine Spectator, will be hosted by CNN Paris Bureau Chief Jim Bittermann. We asked Jim how important it is to get this topic on the table at Vinexpo.

It is very important, particularly because there is some scepticism in some parts of the world about whether or not climate change exists; but there is an acceptance in most places that it really does, and it’s something that is having an impact on everyone. I have already seen from my discussions with participants ahead of time that there is a fair amount of cross- pollination that can be done between wine growers in one part of the world and those in another about their findings and the kind of adaptations they are developing. If we can foster discussion that crosses borders and is worldwide, that will be very helpful for everyone. There are some things going on in Australia, for example, that Europeans should hear about, and there are some things happening in Europe that people in California should hear about. And it’s not just winegrowers. Everyone in the agricultural eld should be concerned by this.

Over the years as you have been reporting for CNN, what have you observed in terms of the evolution of extreme climatic events, and what are your personal thoughts about climate change?

I am certainly a believer in climate change. I have been for years now, and I have seen the impact of climate change on rural populations in Africa. But I have also seen it right here in France. We have done stories about places, in the south particularly, that no longer can grow the kind of grapes they used to grow – or the kind of crops. I am an amateur gardener myself, and I have seen, over the 40 years I have been in France, a rather dramatic shift in the way the seasons develop and the growing conditions we have each year.

Photo: Jim Bittermann, CNN Paris Bureau Chief