eco TV Week

In front of Covid-19 crisis, is there a place for any “green deal”?

5/15/2020

In front of the Covid 19 crisis, the necessary support to economy should not be opposed, but associated,  to energy transition.

Jean-Luc PROUTAT

TRANSCRIPT // In front of Covid-19 crisis, is there a place for any “green deal”? : May 2020

Given the sanitary crisis and its likely social and economic consequences, linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is very tempting for some people to set aside ecological issues in order to favour a rebound in activity.

That is precisely the case in the United States.

The Trump administration gave companies, for an undefined period, the right to derogate rules which aim to protect the environment. In Europe, some voices pleaded in favour of more flexible pollution control standards.
But, in response to the statement of European MP Pascal Canfin, a large group of company, NGO and association managers pleaded in favour of a green recovery.

The message is clear.

The major collective effort they are considering to recover from the crisis makes sense only if it avoids precipitating societies and economies in a climate crisis. They call for leaders to take into account in their recovery plans alternative energy sources to carbon, thermal insulation of buildings, shortening of supply chains, preservation of biodiversity.

In France, public aids to air transportation and to the automotive sector illustrate a different approach from the United States. As the government has claimed ecological compensation.

Recently, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, has reminded that the “green deal”, a thousand billion euro investment plan to reach carbon neutrality in 2050, obeyed  imperatives which will not disappear with the end of the pandemic.

The virus, which brought back dissension, drove a wedge between two visions of the world.

The first, which has already made the US quit Paris Climate Agreement, leads to address global issues with nationalist and often short-term policies.

The second holds to the principle of multilateralism, which, though it has its own limits, remains the best way to overcome crises in a collective and peaceful manner.

For the moment, the calls for an ecological transformation of production modes will not be easily considered as a priority.

Oil, coal and gas, throughout the world, still represent 80% of primary energy supply. This percentage has remained stable and has even slightly increased in twenty years. The cost and availability of fossil energies make them a main driving force of growth particularly in emerging countries.
But we know there are other choices.

China is the largest investor in the nuclear and photovoltaic sectors.
The European Union is able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only because its members outsource their activities which emit the most carbon but also because they increase their use of renewable energy sources.

The great virtue of this collective action in favour of a green deal is to wish to strengthen these orientations.

When, given the seriousness of the situation, they could be suspended.

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