This issue of Futuribles — number 435 — opens up a new series on energy issues and climate change that is set to run over several months. As part of this series, Sébastien Timsit and Alain Grandjean outline the enormous challenge represented by ecological transition and its implementation in France. After telling us how extensive that challenge is at the global, European and French levels, they remind us of the current situation regarding CO2 emissions and the drastic falls we would have to see to have any hope of keeping global warming below 2°C (as compared with pre-industrial temperatures) in the years to 2100.
France has adopted a very ambitious roadmap in this area, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To keep to that objective, it is urgent, Timsit and Grandjean argue, for major sectoral developments to take place in the country — in forestry, construction, transport, energy etc. They sketch out the broad outlines of these, then go on to show how the de-carbonization of the French economy could be achieved without inflicting too much collateral damage on employment and social equilibria. They show, for example, how crucial finance and the direction of investment will be, together with a carbon tax, which is essential but requires a real implementation as well as a campaign of public education if it is not to appear socially unjust. Lastly, they indicate the sectors that will be particularly impacted by ecological transition in France, and those that have to be relied upon to counterbalance the effects (particularly in terms of employment) of this enormous, unprecedented undertaking which urgently needs to be got underway.