“There is no other way out of fossil fuels than a new industrial revolution”

HASBeyond the technical decisions announced these days by the Prime Minister, then by the President of the Republic, it is the cultural battle around ecological issues which will be decisive in the years to come. The subject has been absent from past elections. It risks being very present, but in worrying forms, in the future, presidential included.

The stated desire of the National Rally to advocate a “common sense ecology”a “ecology of the joy of living”reactivating the division between the urban bobos and the rural working classes, is a major danger, unfortunately fueled by antisocial measures such as low-emission zones, or poorly designed ones like zero net artificialization, not to mention, of course, radicalism against -productive of all kinds.

But there is a second front in this battle. Environmentalist movements carry in their DNA a fundamental and understandable distrust of the industrial path, its excesses, its damage. However, we understand today that there is no other way to get away from fossil fuels than a new industrial revolution, on an absolutely unprecedented scale, of which public opinion is not aware, because no one don’t dare say it clearly.

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Accepting this is not easy for many activists. As British historian and economist Adam Tooze notes: “The usual discourse on the energy transition considerably underestimates the scale of the industrial, political and social challenge. This one is unprecedented. Truly raising it would be one of the most spectacular collective acts of government ever accomplished. »

The question of renewable energies

In France, we mainly debate nuclear power, but the immediate crucial question is that of renewable energies (EnR) electric, solar, land and maritime wind. This is the test by which the seriousness of our climate policy will be judged. On paper, things are clear: no reasonable trajectory (excluding all-nuclear) will allow us to achieve national and European climate objectives without relatively massive development of these energies, however unpopular they may be.

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If we add the essential criterion of urgency (the renewal of the nuclear fleet will take a long time, while the switch to renewables can be rapid), the choice resembles an ardent obligation, despite the remaining problems, which They are real – like industrial dependence on China – or partly fictitious, like bottlenecks in strategic metals.

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