“In Europe, the ecological transition is in the spotlight”

EWhat if Dennis Meadows was right? This 81-year-old American physicist is one of the co-authors of the report Limits to growth, a reference text which, in 1972, warned of the dangers of economic expansion for the environment. For more than fifty years, he has been one of those who has constantly alerted the world about the ecological wall towards which we are heading straight. Now in the twilight of his life, Mr. Meadows despairs at having been so little heard. “The problems caused by climate change and pollution require extremely costly short-term measures, the effects of which will not be measured for decades”he summarized again in The worldDecember 2, 2018. No politician or party will win an election with such a program, he insisted. “This is the limit of democracy, which has failed to deal with the environmental problem – even if it remains the best regime we know. »

Also read the interview (2022): Article reserved for our subscribers Dennis Meadows: “We must put an end to uncontrolled growth, the cancer of society”

It is difficult, when we observe what is happening today in Europe, not to share our observation. The ecological transition is in the spotlight. In recent months, several forces have been working against her. Agricultural anger, first. Many farmers in France, Belgium, Spain, Poland and Greece denounce the“excess of standards” linked to the European Green Deal. Fearing that the far right will thrive on their revolt, the leaders of the Old Continent are trembling. And prefer to lower their ecological ambitions. Under their pressure, the Commission thus abandoned several draft texts on animal welfare and chemical substances. It extended the authorization of glyphosate for ten years and buried the text which reduced the use of pesticides by 50%.

Pressure also comes from businesses. Tuesday February 20, the chemicals and petrochemicals lobby, represented by the bosses of seventy companies in the sector, met in Antwerp (Belgium). They had a message to send to Brussels about the Green Deal, which requires them to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. They criticize it for imposing too many constraints on them, at a time when the United States and China are supporting their industries with massive subsidies.

Transparency and self-sacrifice

Europe, which until recently dreamed of itself as spearheading the transition, is heading straight for deindustrialization, they warn, while threatening to cross the Atlantic. Some have already done it. Friday February 23, the Swiss manufacturer of solar panels Meyer Burger announced that it would close its photovoltaic factory near Dresden, Germany, to “concentrate” on the United States.

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