[ Dossier Présidentielle 2022 ] Ecological transition, economic problem of the century

The next presidential election is an opportunity to consider the economic problems of the next five-year term. These include monetary and budgetary policy, trade balance, purchasing power, employment, taxation, pensions, and housing. This week, focus on the ecological transition, whose philosophy is based on the unifying choice of sustainable and sustainable development, requiring the preservation of the stock of inherent natural capital.

Jean-Marc FIGUE and Christian PRA DIT ORE, professors at the University of Bordeaux © Atelier Gallien – Echos Judiciaires Girondins

The recent IPCC report went almost unnoticed because of the war in Ukraine. However, and for very different reasons than the Ukrainian conflict, it points to an objective threat of the pure and simple disappearance of mankind if we stubbornly bury our heads in the sand, illustrating the warning words of Pierre Joliot-Curie: “A society that survives by creating artificial needs for effective production of useless consumer goods is unlikely to meet the challenges of environmental degradation in the long term.”

For participating scientists: “This report recognizes the interdependence of climate, ecosystems, biodiversity and human society.” The market economy, as it developed after the end of World War II, is now on the brink of collapse. This gives rise to unrestrained consumption of natural resources. The market economy causes more and more frequent and more severe environmental disasters (oil slicks, melting ice, hurricanes and storms, destruction of forests, the irretrievable extinction of an increasing number of species of animals and plants).

MASS DESTRUCTION BIODIVERSITY

Thus, for several decades, we have witnessed a massive destruction of biodiversity, record greenhouse gas emissions and ever-higher prices for fossil fuels (especially oil, gas, coal), shortages of minerals and a sharp increase in prices for agricultural products. raw materials. The stakes are colossal because by 2050 the world population will increase by 2.5 times and, Vice versaneed to drastically reduce global CO emissions2 at the same time. The question of climate migration is already emerging, as well as access to water or food for most of humanity.

The market economy causes more and more frequent and severe environmental disasters.

SOIL EXHAUST: A CHALLENGE FOR VITICULTURE

As elsewhere, the New Aquitaine region will not be spared this systemic change. The erosion of the Atlantic coast raises the question of tomorrow’s urbanization, coastal infrastructure, and tourism. Warming ocean waters are putting fish and oyster farming in doubt. Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall threaten the activities of the Pyrenees. And the impoverishment of the soil challenges agriculture and viticulture in terms of their future.

FOR NEW GREEN GROWTH

The ecological transition is the lever that can enable us to leave the pinnacle of the productive, consuming and predatory economic model of natural resources. This transition will start new growth, green growth, fight global warming and energy poverty, reduce pollution and resource consumption, improve health and reduce waste. The market economy, built around cannibalistic financial capitalism and obsessed with creating value for shareholders, has gone out of fashion.

This is no longer in line with the sociological expectations of younger generations who buy second-hand clothes, biodegradable sneakers and prefer a collaborative and sharing economy to an individualistic economy. They rightly advocate sustainable development, which the Brundtland Report defines as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

SYSTEMIC BIG BANG

Let’s make Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s quote our own: “We don’t inherit land from our parents, but we borrow it from our children.” The financial market economy must disappear and give way to an ecological economy in which non-financial criteria carry the same weight as financial criteria alone. The economy is not limited to simple GDP growth, it must also integrate the concept of the well-being of the population. To achieve this systemic big bang, it is necessary to carry out an ecological transition, which is to create a new economic and social system in such a way that it meets the environmental challenges of the century.

A market economy based on “cannibalistic” financial capitalism no longer meets the expectations of younger generations.

20% RENEWABLE ENERGY

Output “thermo-industrial” societies based on a system of increasingly rare fossil energies and creating political systems exploited by greedy and plundering capitalists. In this regard, it is commendable that the European Union has set itself the goal of using 20% ​​of renewable energy sources (wind, solar thermal and photovoltaic energy, biomass energy and geothermal energy), and French legislation has set 9 targets to be achieved in the Code for environmental protection. :

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduce energy consumption; reduce primary energy consumption of fossil fuels; increase the share of renewable energy sources in our energy consumption;
  • reduce the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation; reduce deaths from air pollution; have housing stock that meets BBC (Low Consumer Building) standards;
  • achieve energy autonomy in overseas departments; improve the quality of renewable heat and cold

Several steps can be taken to achieve this important ecological transition. First of all, it is necessary to implement a massive investment plan to develop the circular economy, recycle waste, improve the energy efficiency of housing, promote rail transport and invest in the conservation and restoration of ecosystems. Then it would be beneficial to reduce the dependency of the poorest households on fossil fuels by completely overhauling heating systems and home insulation practices. Finally, negative externalities need to be combated through the introduction of environmental taxation, tradable quotas, and mandatory application of environmental standards. Therefore, it is advisable to tax the exploitation and destruction of natural resources.

It is also necessary to tax the consumption of fuels associated with fossil fuels and heating fuels. But more generally, it is necessary to build an economy of satiety and sobriety, an economy inspired by the philosophy of finitude and sustainability. Protecting the environment must transcend personal selfishness. For Gandhi, “there is enough in the world for everyone’s needs, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

So far, we have behaved like the hares of Lafontaine’s fable, arrogant and self-confident. Now we must behave like a humble and respectable turtle. But the tortoise, which must move at the speed of a hare!

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