Warning from the scientific community; public commotion; commitment from public authorities to act; finding that nothing has really changed; new warning from scientists, etc. Like a well-established dance step, the ritual has been repeated since 1979, when the first scientific warning was issued at the World Climate Conference. Until when?
Gradually, the ballet turns into a dance of death, dragging rich and poor into the same ruin. The recent grandstand " Faced with the ecological crisis, rebellion is necessary. "signed by nearly 1,000 scientists and presented on the front page of Le Monde on 21 February, underlines, after dozens of warnings from the same barrel, that "for decades, successive governments have been unable to implement strong and rapid action to address the climate crisis". It calls for action by citizens themselves.
It will be discovered tomorrow, of course, that these actions are just as powerless to bring about the necessary structural transformation.
Scientists are beginning to hope that the proposals from the Citizens' Climate ConventionThe new members, whose sixth (out of seven) session ended on 8 March, will finally rise to the challenge. This is a lot of illusions if we look at the mandate given to the Convention, which invites citizens to list actions classified in five areas (housing, travel, work and production, food, consumption), the limited time left to citizens who, for the most part, can only devote their weekends to reflection on such a vast subject, and the working methodology that puts them in a mill that they have not chosen.
Politics and economics, the two glasses that we're looking at from the wrong end.
The same causes will produce the same effects. We will discover in two or three years time that the measures adopted were unfortunately "anecdotal", to repeat the criticisms made by certain NGOs against the President of the Republic after his visit to the Mont Blanc massif on February 13. What would one say of a In a matter that concerns the future of all of us, we go on, take the same ones and start over.a doctor who would recommend the same treatment for decades with no results? We would consider changing both.
But no, in a matter that concerns the future of all of us, we go on, take the same ones and start again.
Another waltz: warning, excitement, new measures, and the realization that nothing has changed. Only the musicians seem tireless.
Where's the wolf? He's clearly visible, so there's no need to go looking for him in the woods. The gait is always the same. We show through technical scenarios that it would be possible to reduce our total carbon footprint, including grey energy (the energy used to manufacture and transport imported goods and services). Then we set up obligations of means to make these scenarios happen, while taking care not to jeopardize our industry, our growth and our standard of living. And, of course, if these means did not achieve the desired result, no one is responsible for it.If these means did not achieve the desired result, no one is responsible for it.Politics and economics are thus two glasses that we would be looking at from the wrong end. Instead of making us see the future closely, they take us away from it, sending it back into the abstract: beyond the electoral deadlines for politics, beyond the profitability forecasts for the economy. Between effective measures against global warming, the effect of which will only be felt in the long term and on a global scale, and the reduction of unemployment, what is likely to determine future elections? To ask the question is to answer it. A question that deserves a referendum.
It is inevitable, in order to get out of the dance of death, to radically change the approach, replacing the abundant obligations of means with an obligation of result and establishing a legal responsibility of governments towards this obligation. Obligation of result: the cap on our total carbon footprint, including direct and indirect emissions, must be reduced by six to seven percent per year. This means that it is a scarce commodity, and one that is becoming increasingly scarce.
How can a scarce good be fairly distributed within a population? There are not thirty-six solutions, there are only three: act on the price of the good, through taxation, until the total demand does not exceed the ceiling; put the good up for auction; distribute it equitably among the entire population.
The first two solutions are tantamount to reserving for the richest a good, the consumption of fossil energy, on which everyone is dependent. In other words, they are not politically feasible.
The third is the allocation of emission allowances to each individual. The responsibility of leaders to respect our international commitments and the allocation of emission allowances to all is the subject of a referendum. Will the Citizens' Convention be able to propose it? Looking at the mill in which the citizens who are members of the Convention are caught, one can doubt it. We can only hope for a start.
Pierre Calame is the author of " A short treatise on oeconomy "Editions Charles Leopold Mayer, 2018.
Header photo : ©Maison de la danse Lyon/Romain Etienne