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Alain Boublil Blog


Three ideas in favor of climate

The action against climate warming doesn’t reduce itself to energy transition and the State is not the only participant which much commits himself. But the issue has taken such a place in the political debate that announcements effects are taking the lead over appropriate decisions. That can prove counter-productive and causes a rejection phenomenon even when household and enterprises, if they are proposed efficient solutions, are, as a whole, ready to participate to this indispensable effort. To assign very long term objectives as the share of nuclear in the power mix in 2035 (after having extended this term by ten years) or to forbid the sale of vehicles using fossil fuels in 2040 is spectacular but doesn’t exempt in any case to take measures which correspond to the expected objectives and to show imagination. The three following ideas can contribute to open new ways of thinking.

The first one regards homes thermal isolation. For years, it is put forward that these investments are beneficial on any points. They create jobs and allow to reducing the consumption of imported fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions when heat is provided by boilers using fuel, natural gas or coal. Five millions homes are qualified as inefficient thermal ones but hardly 50 000 per year benefit from the necessary investments, despite a strong financial and political support. The reason is simple: incentives don’t take into account the diversity of situations. In particular, when the home is rented or when it is a co-ownership, the one who finances works will not be the one who will take all the benefits. The property value will increase and the tenant will have his energy bill reduced. In the case of a co-ownership, these who have financed their share of the isolation works will have their benefits reduced because of the remaining un-isolated apartments.

The way to solve the problem is to create a new legal instrument, which could be called the “green lease” which defines a fair repartition between the different stakeholders of the benefits and the charges generated by isolation works. Once the “green lease” signed by these ones, a financing with preferred rates would be automatically accorded. Financial institutions are collecting important resources through their issuances of green bonds. They would find there an utilization of these resources corresponding perfectly to the purpose of their issuances. A particular warrant system could be even put in place to guarantee the loans when the one who finances the works has not enough assets or revenues. The green bail could also be used to regulate the relations between social organisms and their tenants and the privileged financings would profit to “HLM” organisms.

The second example is about vehicles traffic in urban areas. The policy followed until now has included two aspects. On the short term, the place offered to vehicles to move inside the city has been reduced. In Paris, that has lead to a caricatured situation with the multiplication of road works and the closing of ways. On the long term, it is thought that the electric vehicle will be the right answer. But the reduction of spaces dedicated to circulation has generated huge traffic jams and more pollution, not to take into account the time lost and its cost for these who were moving for professional reasons. Cars are less numerous on the streets but engines stay burning longer with the cars stopped. Regarding electric vehicles, they get few successes because they do not fulfill client expectations. Despites important incentives, they represent only 1.8% of the registrations since the beginning of the year.

Another solution, in towns, is possible: connected red lights making traffic more fluid and reducing polluting emissions. It is not be possible to find somebody who believes that we will have connected and autonomous vehicles in the future and who thinks that we will not be able to equip signalization with captors and algorithms allowing optimizing the crossing at an intersection. There is nothing more absurd to stop when there are neither pedestrians nor cars at a crossing or around a roundabout. The system would also permit to have a better synchronization of the red lights all along a way which would contribute to reduce both CO2 emissions and particles so dangerous for health. The cost of such equipments would be ridiculous compared to the billions which are supposed to be invested in the car industry or to these which have already been spent to build roundabouts. If is proposed to French companies such an experimental program, there is no doubt that they will acquire a know-how which will allow them to export it. But it is necessary to act without delay because it seems that some Chinese cities are now thinking about such technologies.

The third idea is about goods transportation, which doesn’t seem, since the harmful experience of the gantries, to appear among priorities in the fight against climate warming and pollutions. Two major facts have affected this activity: the SNCF disengagement whose share of the traffic has not ceased to decline for twenty years and the expansion of the transportation through containers which takes advantage from new digital technologies and the handlings automation. Today, in every harbor, ships are discharged with cranes which take containers and put them on stocking areas where they will be put on the trucks which will transport them to their final destination. The idea consists in reviving the “Aerotrain” idea which has been abandoned to the profit of high speed trains. The suspended way would be equipped with a conveyor belt on which would be set down the containers. A first experimental line could start from Le Havre harbor to get to a stocking area in the north of Paris from where containers would be carried to their final destination. To finance the line, it is enough to abandon the North Canal project which has the same purpose and whose only interest is to strengthen the domination of Anvers and Rotterdam harbors precisely to the detriment of Le Havre. If such financing is not available, there too, the funds collected through “green bonds” could contribute to it.

France has transformed passenger railways transportation with the High Speed train network. The building, across the country of a network of lines dedicated to containers transportation whose costs would be by large inferior to traditional lines, would allow to reduce significantly and definitely a large part of goods road transportation. They would keep their whole relevance to deliver goods at their final destination, once long distance trips have been done on the lines especially dedicated to that use. Such a project is definitely less costly and more environment friendly than the crazy idea supported by Hyperloop to transport travelers in pressurized capsules with a 1000 km per hour speed.

The fight against climate warming will only be successful if the proposed solutions caused interest and correspond to the needs of the concerned household and enterprises. For lack of that, we will stay under an announcement and horizon logic about which we know that its characteristic is to move back when we advance.                       



  1. Hugo 07/11/2019 5:05 p.m. #

    Votre article apporte, comme toujours, des idées fondées et clairement exposées. L'idée des feux rouges connectés illustre bien le mélange de classicisme et d'originalité que l'on retrouve régulièrement dans vos écrits.

    Je me permets toutefois deux remarques dont vous pardonnerez, j'espère, l'impertinence :
    Première remarque, on parle beaucoup de problèmes climatiques en Europe, et ces questions occupent à mon avis beaucoup de place dans le climat intellectuel français. Qui pourrait y échapper ?
    Pourtant, quelques éléments dont vous avez assurément connaissance devraient nous inciter à remettre chaque élément à sa juste mesure : de nombreux pics de pollution en Europe et en France ne sont-ils pas liés à la direction du vent et aux émissions des centrales à charbon polonaises et est-allemandes ? Ensuite, nous sommes incités à réduire notre consommation (un peu) et à payer plus de taxes (beaucoup) pour lutter contre le réchauffement climatique. Cependant, je me suis laissé dire qu'en admettant que demain tous les français ramènent à zéro leur consommation, l'impact sur le changement climatique serait de... moins de 1% du total. Les poids lourds étant la Chine, l'Inde, les Etats-Unis...
    Pardonnez donc mon esprit retors, populiste et climatosceptique, mais j'ai le sentiment que la politique de lutte contre le changement climatique menée en France a un impact direct et important sur l'industrie et le budget de l'Etat, et un impact ténu si ce n'est inexistant sur le climat.
    Et si vraiment il se met à faire chaud, planter des arbres reste la meilleure des solutions, comme l'illustre la forêt expérimentale qui pousse dans le désert d'Egypte.

    Second point : vous parlez des modes de transport et promouvez l'usage de trains. En effet, cette solution est techniquement de bonne mesure, comme l'illustre l'exemple Suisse. Mais cela reviendrait à dépendre de manière massive d'une corporation organisée pour la défense de ses privilèges et de son idéologie : les cheminots et assimilés. Ce serait donc techniquement et économiquement une excellente mesure, mais politiquement, j'ai des doutes. Je soupçonne un cas identique pour le port du Havre : les importateurs Français évitent fréquemment de faire transiter leur marchandise par le port de Marseille et lui préfèrent le Havre. Cause? Les dockers et leurs petites magouilles. Si on préfère le port du Havre à celui de Marseille, n'y a-t-il pas lieu de préférer le port de Rotterdam à celui du Havre pour les mêmes raisons ? Une fois de plus, j'envisage une hypothèse politique pour expliquer les choix faits par l'Etat en matière d'infrastructures publiques de transports...

    Moralité si j'ai raison : un état, lorsqu'il est faible, se montre faible avec les forts et fort avec les faibles : on crève les yeux des Gilets Jaunes et on laisse perdurer les groupes d'intérêts minoritaires et aux limites de la loi.


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