In its May 12 to 18 issue, the cover of Challenges magazine bears this title: “Climate: let’s change our lives”. The challenges promise readers to talk to them about “fuel, food, housing”. Christian Gollier, a Belgian citizen, but also director general of the “Toulouse School of Economics”, post in which he replaced Jean Tirole, gave “Challenges” a three -page interview. This man is also one of the IPCC experts whose fifth report was released in April. But the comments he makes on “Challenges” are irrelevant, given his view of the economy.
We can expect from him an accurate diagnosis of the current situation as well as relevant recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, like Jean Tirole, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2014, and author of the book “Economics of the common good” (1), Christian Gollier defends the idea that the carbon tax that every consumer pays is enough to makunhuran. carbon emissions CO2 at a planetary level. In this interview, he justifies it in these terms: “the carbon tax aims to realign the private interest to the general interest, by ensuring that everyone integrates this climate dimension into their decisions. (…). If the only instrument is the carbon tax, a price of almost € 160 per tonne of CO2 is required ”, this co-rapporteur of the IPCC pointed out.
“Treat people as fools,” he said
One of the questions asked by Challenges ’editorial staff was formulated as follows:“ With Covid and incarceration, global CO2 emissions are falling. Doesn’t this give credence to the idea that de-globalization, “localism”, is good for on the planet? ”. Frankly, Christian Gollier states: “The answer is no! The belief that globalization is responsible for climate change is driving people crazy. Maritime transportation represents less than 5% of CO2 emissions. The real source of emissions is production. No transportation. I always take the example of Spanish tomato versus French tomato. Spanish tomatoes are likely to emit more CO2 because they have to be delivered, but if French tomatoes could be produced in greenhouses, not only would it be more expensive, but more CO2! “, he said without further details.
It should be noted in this regard that Spanish tomatoes are usually produced in greenhouses, as the images are usually shown from Almeria and elsewhere in southern Spain. They will then be taken by truck to France and many countries in northern Europe. In the vegetable and fruit growing areas of Spain, the pumping of irrigation water from rivers and groundwater is drying up the country. These withdrawals have greatly reduced the flow of the Douro River upon its arrival in Portugal. To reduce the carbon footprint of tomatoes, they should be eaten for a long time and not all year round.
Christian Gollier remains the inspiration of David Ricardo…
All of this seems to have escaped IPCC co-rapporteur Christian Gollier. He defends the “Ricardian” vision of a globalized economy. Because this concentration of vegetable and fruit production in Spain follows the theory of comparative advantages promoted by the English economist David Ricardo who wrote a book published in 1817 (2): “If instead of harvest wheat at home and production – even clothing and the things needed for labor consumption, we discovered new markets where we could get these things cheaper, wages had to go down and profits motaas ”.
For more than 40 years, industrial firms in developed countries have been justified by the comparative theory that the advantages are closing down factories in developed countries to produce at lower cost in countries where the wage is four to five times lower. But these production shifts have a damaging carbon footprint if new factories have to be built while others are closed before being demolished. At the same time, large warehouses were set up to store imported finished products. If already produced in China or anywhere, they will move from truck to ship, then from ship to truck after being unloaded at our ports. Then, the final stage will put several vans on the roads to deliver each of the items ordered over the Internet.
… And is involved in the contradictions of his reasoning!
As much as he is wary of the contradictions inherent in his economic reasoning, Christian Gollier also states in “Challenges:” CO2 concentrations have not occurred in the last century, but in the last thirty years. . In 1990, 35 billion tons of CO2 were emitted. Today, we are at 52. We have grown by 50% in thirty years on a global scale ”.
“It’s really true,” said Mother Denis, this Norman washerwo who was once famous in an advertisement. But in fact within 30 years the relocations of productions have become huge. One wonders how an IPCC member can hold such a conflicting argument. Especially when we have become accustomed to hearing in recent years those, if not, controversial and serious, former IPCC member Jean Jouzel.