Ecology is an overused term by which today we designate all kinds of subjects, from the protection of bees to the recycling of waste, from melting ice to the obsolescence of telephone batteries… The Greens and the far left have appropriated ecology to promote degrowth.
In 2050, the earth will have 2.4 billion more inhabitants. We will have to significantly increase global agricultural production to feed them. We will therefore have to reduce and decarbonize our energy consumption while increasing our agricultural production. In order not to deforest the planet, we will have to produce more – and not less – on existing soils, with more productive plants, thanks to varietal research which will also allow us to reduce inputs.
The pandemic and the containment are generating a major global recession (social plans, bankruptcies, etc.). This drop in activity translates into a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. But if we wanted to meet the objectives of the Paris climate accords in 2050 via degrowth, we would have to remain confined for … thirty years. Degrowth is therefore a dead end.
That is why I defend sustainable development based on three pillars: environmental protection, economic viability and social progress. It is a mistake to regard man a priori as an enemy of nature. Research, innovation and businesses have a huge role to play in reducing emissions, better recycling waste, and inventing less polluting fuels.
With a great deal of public money, the government is bending to ideological objectives, without assessing their realism and relevance. It is time to get out of the mantra, based on science, by providing concrete and realistic answers.
For the past year, The Republicans have been at work. We have held more than a hundred meetings on subjects at the heart of the concerns of our fellow citizens, such as global warming, the quality of the air, water and our food.
Climate change is irrefutable: CO2 emissions come from demographic change, rising living standards and carbon energy consumption. Reducing emissions must be a priority. France must contribute to this, while keeping in mind that we only emit 1% of global emissions and that we have one of the most carbon-free energy mixes in the world, thanks to nuclear power.
By a carbon tax at the borders of the European Union, we can reduce global emissions while stopping unfair competition.
In France, we have room for improvement in reducing our emissions in transport (29% of emissions), in construction (20% of emissions) or in industry (18% of emissions).
Renovate the habitat
On housing, the government’s stimulus plan provides for 4 billion euros per year for buildings in the tertiary sector and only 2 billion for housing, focusing a large part of its efforts on the thermal insulation of public buildings. On the contrary, thermal renovation of housing must be made a priority, replacing all carbon-based thermal equipment with electrical equipment and eliminating all energy strainers. This would reduce energy consumption in the primary home by 27%.
The government wants to gradually replace nuclear power with renewable energy, which would sacrifice our energy sovereignty in favor of equipment 90% manufactured in Asia, while increasing emissions! Intermittent energies will always need additional fossil fuels during energy peaks. Since phasing out nuclear power, Germany has seen its emissions increase. And France had to resort to coal on September 17, for lack of sufficient wind power generation, after the government shut down the nuclear power plant in Fessenheim.
On transport, the government is promoting the total electrification of the vehicle fleet, while all-electric is not the solution. To really assess the carbon footprint of electric cars, it is necessary to assess the total life cycle of the vehicle, including its manufacture with batteries mainly imported from China. We believe that electric can be suitable for urban and peri-urban vehicles, but that it is above all necessary to develop biofuels, which emit up to 90% less emissions than gasoline and diesel and are for the moment the the only way to reduce air traffic emissions. In the medium term, it is also useful to invest in making France the leader in green hydrogen.
Contrary to an ecological ideology that only produces slogans and fear, let us set specific and quantified objectives, based on realities. Shutting down fourteen reactors by replacing them with wind turbines or solar power is nonsense that will cause emissions and our energy bill to rise. On the contrary, we must implement a moratorium for onshore wind power and preserve our nuclear capacity, in accordance with the recommendations of the IPCC. If the reduction of emissions is really the objective of the government, that it stop subsidizing wind and solar power (which have cost the State nearly 150 billion euros since 2002) to direct this financing towards decarbonization housing and transport. This is what a common sense ecology would be, the one we defend.