For more than a decade now, no public policy has been developed in France without a nod in the direction of sustainable development – and rightly so. Nevertheless, when examined more closely, public expenditure – through the tax system or subsidies – does not always conduce to that end. This is particularly the case when it comes to protecting biodiversity.
As Thierry Lavoux, drawing on the Sainteny Report (“Government Support Detrimental to Biodiversity”), shows here, much government financial support in the broadest sense (subsidies, fiscal expenditure, regulatory advantages etc.) turns out to be detrimental to biodiversity. After reminding us how difficult it is to incorporate environmental protection into economic evaluations, Lavoux highlights the main factors harmful to biodiversity (creation of artificial environments, break-up of habitats, over-exploitation of natural resources etc.) and resulting, directly or indirectly, from a financial incentive originating with the state. In conclusion, he presents some of the ambitious recommendations of the Sainteny Report, such as a reduction in state support for the creation of new transport infrastructures, which represent an essential contribution to the incorporation of biodiversity protection into state financial thinking.