PMore than 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels: gas, oil and coal. We therefore have no choice but to drastically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. To achieve this, the government seems to rely primarily on technological solutions (deployment of the electric car, for example), but also on “voluntary sobriety”, while maintaining a price shield on the price of gas and a discount on the pump, even for the wealthiest. But can we really drastically reduce our emissions by keeping energy prices low for everyone?
The first solution that comes to mind is to limit emissions through targeted bans. We could first eliminate certain programs that seem superfluous. Prohibiting private jet travel falls into this category of measures. More generally, we could as a priority target the emissions of goods consumed only by the wealthiest.It is therefore far from sufficient.
Another part of the solution is technological. Green technologies are advancing. For example, between 2010 and 2019, we observed a drop in production costs of 85% for solar power, 55% for wind power, and 85% for lithium batteries. But green technologies do not allow us for the moment to keep our way of life unchanged while sufficiently reducing our emissions. And we observe that the higher the price of fossil fuels, the more green innovations there are.
Individual and collective will
The third lever is behavior change. The scenarios enabling France to achieve its emission reduction targets all include a good dose of energy sobriety. Sobriety is about reducing energy consumption through lifestyle changes and social transformations rather than technology-enabled efficiency gains.
In almost all of these scenarios, the plan is to lower the average annual number of kilometers traveled by car, to develop carpooling, to reduce the share of travel by plane, to reduce the weight of cars to lower their consumption, to limit the surface area of housing per inhabitant to reduce heating needs, to lower the temperature of housing and offices, etc.
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