Implementing an alternative growth model
We must meet the challenge of creating good quality jobs while preserving our planet. Whatever the line of thought proposed, two factual remarks must be made:
The first is that the covid-19 shock showed the failure of a strategy of “décroissance ». We have experienced a massive drop in activity due to the pandemic (a global recession of around 4.9% for 2020) with a major impact on public finances, but greenhouse gas emissions will only have decreased by around 8% on a global scale in 2020. And emissions would have to drop by around 7.6% each year until 2030 for the temperature to rise only by 1.5 degrees. So we will not get there by growing negatively.
The second remark is that the impact of any Franco-French measure on the climate is negligible: French consumption is responsible for only 1.5% of global emissions.
At the very least, we need a European strategy. This requires massive investment in public and private research in the energy field in particular. We must collectively allocate massive resources to this.
It is also necessary to build on the European system of greenhouse gas emission quotas that exists (EU Emissions Trading System) and expand its scope of application – notably by covering maritime transport. This system must be used to increase the price of greenhouse gas emission rights sizably and in a predictable way on European territory for the next 30 years with an adjustment of the price of imports at our borders to avoid “carbon dumping”. Thanks to the predictability of the carbon price, investors will be able to allocate their capital to the least polluting activities which will also be the most profitable. Conversely, polluting technologies will have increasingly lower returns. Carbon dividends from the sale of emission rights should be redistributed to European citizens as progressively as possible to maintain their purchasing power.
The private sector must also be mobilized with European accounting rules that take into account the carbon content of activities on a mandatory basis. Companies should be asked to indicate their emission targets; publish transition plans and progress reports that investors can monitor. And indicate how their compensation policy relates to their progress.
In addition, if an increasing number of companies took on the status of “mission-oriented companies”, this would make it possible to integrate environmental and social indicators transparently into their objectives. This should lead to more solidarity in the management of the production chains and in their ecosystem and it should contribute to reduce inequalities in status and in compensation among workers.