As Jean Haëntjens again stressed in our January-February 2020 issue, in the face of states’ slow reactions, if not indeed inertia, in the battle against climate change, local tiers of government — and cities in particular — might well take charge and become ‘powerhouses’ for states by undertaking concrete initiatives. François Grosse argues along the same lines in this article in our second instalment in the series devoted to climate and energy questions. He argues for the rapid establishment of ‘circular metropolises’ in France, to transform the economy and modes of life as quickly as possible, so as to respond to the challenges posed by the target of keeping global warming below 2°C to end of the century.
After showing how massive and urgent these challenges are (and how, by failing to take account of indirect, imported emissions, they are largely underestimated in France) and how the French strategy fails to represent a coherent response, François Grosse shows that it has become essential to act at the level where it is possible to do so — i.e. where all the actors can invest their intelligence and energies in an effective collaborative project. So it is at the level of metropolises and their immediate peripheries — going far beyond the ‘sustainable city’ notion that has emerged in recent decades — and by developing genuine circular metropolises, that it will be possible to achieve the objectives necessary for a genuine ecological transition, considered from all angles, and thus radically transform the socio-economic system to make it compatible with our ecosystem.