Is the Ecological Transition Soluble in Citizen Democracy?


This article is published in Futuribles journal no.445, nov.-déc. 2021

With the ‘Great National Debate’ and the ‘Citizens’ Climate Convention’, France’s political leaders have seemed committed, in recent years, to citizen involvement ahead of major political decisions. This is a response, among things, to the various protest movements that have shaken the country — ‘Yellow Vests’, Climate Marches etc. Unfortunately, the political decisions that have followed or flowed from these consultation exercises have not lived up to expectations, an example being the Climate and Resilience Law of August 2021. Admittedly, the Covid pandemic has played its part in this, but as we are thinking, with the much-needed ecological transition in mind, about what post-Covid society might look like, the question of how citizens and political decision-makers come together over these issues is more urgent than ever. In the current context of mistrust, how are we to conceive of an effective citizen democracy? In this opinion piece, Géraud Guibert asks himself what the real chances are for such a citizen democracy to be successful and, most importantly, for it to be a positive accompaniment to ecological transition. It is important, as he sees it, to be “clear-sighted on this issue”: France still has not found a method for making an ambitious climate strategy acceptable and operational. In his view, if the country is to move in that direction, a number of things have to be made clear: first, on “punitive ecology” (it is essential, but it has to be targeted and explained); then, on the role of science (both in terms of diagnosis and possible solutions); and, lastly, regarding the transformation of the economic system (to take account of the limits of capitalism and develop a logic of the management, protection and pooling of common goods). Once these matters are clarified, an effort will have to be made genuinely to co-build policies and measures to advance ecological transition, and, in Guibert’s view, the Citizens’ Convention seems to offer the best pathway to that goal.
#Aspects politiques #Citoyenneté #Démocratie #Gouvernance #Modes de vie #Transition écologique