Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Ce rapport fait suite à un colloque qui s’est tenu à Manille sous les auspices de l’Organisation des nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO), du Fonds international de développement agricole (IFAD) et de la BAD. Du 7 au 9 juillet 2010, le colloque a rassemblé plus de 400 participants originaires de 30 pays dans un contexte encore marqué par la crise alimentaire de 2007-2008 suscitée par la forte hausse des prix. Cette volatilité des prix ...
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La production des biocarburants à partir de la biomasse est considérée comme un paramètre important des scénarios énergétiques. L’utilisation d’algues est ainsi envisagée et cette filière de biocarburants, dite de « troisième génération », connaît un regain d’intérêt aux États-Unis, après une décennie d’attentisme ; des efforts de recherche importants lui sont consacrés, financés en partie par le plan de relance américain. Une entreprise active dans ce domaine, Solazyme, a ainsi levé près de 230 millions de dollars US ...
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Ce Rapport Vigie est l’édition 2012 du rapport annuel du système Vigie. Ce dispositif de l’association Futuribles International a pour ambition de fournir à ses membres des analyses prospectives qui éclairent le champ des futurs possibles dans 15 domaines. Le Rapport Vigie 2010 proposait un panorama de tendances lourdes et d’incertitudes majeures pour chacun de ces domaines à l’horizon 2020-2030. Il nous est apparu utile de reprendre ce rapport, de le réexaminer, de l’actualiser et ...
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L’association négaWatt a actualisé en 2011 son scénario énergétique pour la France à l’horizon 2050 de 2006. De façon plus complète que dans la version précédente, la transition énergétique de négaWatt vers une société économe en énergie, excluant le nucléaire et faisant appel à 90 % aux énergies renouvelables, décrit un véritable changement de société. Ce scénario va bien au-delà de l’objectif de facteur 4 (diviser par quatre nos émissions de CO2 par rapport à la référence de ...
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Tendance 1. Croissance de la demande d’énergie Tendance 2. Diversification des carburants liquides Tendance 3. Le retour problématique du charbon Tendance 4. Le nucléaire : une croissance remise en cause Tendance 5. Les progrès des filières solaires électriques Tendance 6. Développement de l’énergie éolienne Tendance 7. Géothermie, un potentiel sous-évalué Tendance 8. Biomasse, la principale énergie renouvelable Tendance 9. Développement de l’énergie hydroélectrique Tendance 10. Essor des sources d’énergie marines Tendance 11. Maîtrise croissante du stockage de ...
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Tendance 1. L’importance stratégique croissante des métaux high-tech Tendance 2. L’industrie minière se recentre autour de pays en développement Tendance 3. Les nouveaux géants de la mine Tendance 4. Certains métaux de base deviennent stratégiques Tendance 5. La longue absence de politique européenne coordonnée Sources et ressources
Tendance 1. Croissance de la demande alimentaire mondiale Tendance 2. Poursuite de la mise en culture des terres disponibles Tendance 3. Gains de rendements des cultures alimentaires Tendance 4. Prélèvements croissants de l’agriculture sur la ressource en eau Tendance 5. Hausse des transactions internationales sur les terres arables Tendance 6. Baisse des ressources halieutiques, croissance de l’aquaculture
Les pays de l’Afrique du Nord (AFN) sont confrontés à des enjeux agricoles extrêmement complexes les plaçant dans une situation d’insécurité inquiétante . Le blé incarne à lui tout seul à quel point un produit peut faire l’objet d’une étroite surveillance politique, car nécessitant à la fois des mesures internes pour le rendre accessible au plus grand nombre mais aussi des stratégies commerciales pour acheter à l’étranger ce que la production locale ne saurait couvrir en ...
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By the time this issue of Futuribles comes out, the now traditional international conference on climate change, planned for 28 November–9 December 2011, will have begun in Durban where the different nations will again attempt to agree to a series of measures aimed at curbing the warming of our planet. It is far from certain they will succeed in doing so, despite a diagnosis – recognizing global warming and its anthropogenic origins – that is shared almost unanimously by the scientific community. We say “almost” since a few scattered individuals – the so-called “climate sceptics” – still dispute the fact that climate change is happening. Futuribles has already (in March 2005) devoted a long “Forum” section to one of the emblematic figures of this tendency, Bjørn Lomborg. We return to the theme today by way of the analysis of Antonin Pottier, who examines the socio-psychological mechanisms underlying the climate-sceptical position.
Pottier distinguishes between two elements in the debate on climate change: a “diagnostic” component, including the observation of the warming of the planet, its causes (the emission of greenhouse gases) and its possible consequences (a scenario tending towards large-scale climatic upheavals), and a “prescriptive” part which, taking account of the diagnosis, proposes political measures and relates not to scientific observations but to a moral evaluation of the situation. After reminding us of what “fuels” the debate (the element of uncertainty which, Pottier argues, can relate only to the vision of the likely future that emerges from the observation of the facts, not to the description of the facts observed), he shows us that climate-sceptical arguments arise out of a confusion between diagnosis and prescription: it is because they reject the need for, or the content of, climate policies that they come to deny the scientific reality of climate change, shifting the ground of the debate and veering deeper into error. This posture is all the more harmful for being widely echoed in the media, tending to add a touch more confusion to the information available to the public: “Citizens’ perceptions of contemporary issues are skewed in favour of those interests that would be seriously impacted by a campaign against greenhouse emissions.”
In 2011, Futuribles has given a great deal of space in its journal to energy questions, particularly relating to fossil resource depletion and to climate change. However, few of those articles have included regional analyses of energy problems. The article we are publishing here by Denise Houphouet-Boigny and Kroa Acka Delacroix partly remedies this failure, laying out the energy prospects for a region that does not lack resources, but where much remains to be done to exploit them sustainably and for the benefit of all. We are speaking of West Africa.
The authors begin by reminding us of the components of the energy supply in this region, in terms both of fossil fuels and renewable energies. They then examine possible paths of sub-regional action (particularly through ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States) to meet the various current and future challenges in terms of energy provision. They show that, alongside local or national actions to develop the use of solar and wind power or biofuels in order to replace the burning of bio-mass that causes high levels of pollution, sub-regional cooperation and the pooling of investment in the renewable energy sector (beginning with hydroelectricity) constitute an essential strategic option and, no doubt, a decisive factor in the development of West Africa.
Ce court rapport de l’agence européenne de l’environnement démontre le rôle important du recyclage dans une économie verte.Les données intéressantes se trouvent surtout dans le chapitre 2, qui présente les bénéfices économiques du recyclage en Europe. Le chiffre d’affaire du recyclage de sept catégories de produits – le verre, le papier et le carton, le plastic, le fer et l’acier, le cuivre, l’aluminium et le nickel, les métaux précieux, les autres métaux – a été multiplié ...
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Les espoirs placés dans l’économie verte pour relancer les créations d’emplois ont jusqu’à présent été déçus . Pis, selon le Céreq , les jeunes diplômés d’une formation liée à l’environnement ont aujourd’hui plus de difficultés à trouver un emploi que les autres. Une inadéquation croissante s’observe en effet entre l’offre et la demande en termes de volumes, mais aussi de spécialités.
Comment évoluent les émissions de gaz à effet de serre des Français depuis 20 ans ? D’après les données officielles du ministère de l’Écologie, elles ont diminué de 10 %. Mais, en prenant en compte les émissions générées à l’étranger par des biens consommés en France, le bilan carbone des Français aurait augmenté de 13 % depuis 1990.
Près de 100 millions de personnes dans les pays en développement sont exposées à des taux trop élevés d’arsenic dans leurs eaux de boisson. S’il existe déjà des technologies et des méthodes chimiques de purification, elles sont bien souvent trop coûteuses ou contraignantes pour les populations locales. La récente découverte d’une équipe de chercheurs américaine pourrait apporter une nouvelle solution.
In the current context of a continuous, sustained rise in the price of fossil fuels and a battle against climate change, are there credible alternatives in the field of road transport to the internal combustion engine? Some manufacturers in the area of private transport are investing in electric vehicles – where battery performance is improving (though this remains a niche market) – and in hybrid engines. In goods transport, matters are a little more tricky, given the length of journeys and the power required. There too, however, according to Brieuc Bougnoux, the use of electrical vehicles could be an option for the future, by way of the electrification of the road network. Bougnoux outlines the technical features of such an option, the cost of its implementation and the – environmental, financial and infrastructure – advantages a country like France might derive from it. This is a route that is certainly worthy of interest, but would require coordination with European partners whose road hauliers also use the French road network.
As a cradle of civilizations, the Mediterranean region has always been a source of fascination and played a major role in Europe commercially, culturally and geopolitically. Moreover, the countries of the southern and eastern rims of the Mediterranean are today seeing profound social and political upheavals that are likely also to affect the northern rim, making their futures uncertain, to say the least. In such a context, it becomes essential to have solid foresight analyses of the region.
Long before the Arab revolutions of spring 2011 began, the European Commission had launched a wide-ranging foresight exercise on the Mediterranean region up to the year 2030, entitled EuroMed-2030. This was driven by a group of 20 international experts and submitted its findings in December 2010. Domenico Rossetti di Valdalbero, Perla Srour-Gandon and Spela Majcen present the main lessons to be gleaned from the exercise here. After reviewing the major trends in the region (in demographic, economic, cultural, scientific, agricultural and energy terms), our authors stress the principal tensions and uncertainties that are likely to influence the future of the Mediterranean zone (socio-economic inequalities, democratic and reforming aspirations, tensions between hostile states, divergent views of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation etc.). From this starting point, they present the four transitional scenarios identified by EuroMed-2030 — “Managing Conflict”, “Engaging in Win-Win Projects”, “Deeper Economic Integration” and “Towards a EuroMed Community” – as well as various flagship initiatives and more concrete recommendations that may well accompany them.
Comment évolueront la consommation et la production d’électricité de la France au cours des 20 prochaines années ? Dans son bilan prévisionnel 2011, RTE (Réseau de transport d’électricité) envisage plusieurs scénarios possibles, y compris une baisse de la part du nucléaire dans le mix électrique.
With the economic rise of the major emerging nations, increased tensions over the supply of certain minerals and metals have been visible for several years now. This has had a direct impact on the price of these – often strategic – materials in the IT, telecoms and other sectors. However, where many minerals are concerned, one area remains that has so far been unexploited, but is nonetheless very promising: the ocean beds.
Ifremer, aware of this potential wealth and the urgent need to guarantee lasting supplies of these strategic resources both for France and for Europe, launched a foresight exercise in 2009 on deep sea mineral resources with a time-horizon of 2030. Denis Lacroix and Yves Fouquet, who were members of the study’s steering group, outline it for us here.
After recalling the international context and the different minerals and metals present in the ocean depths, they underscore the crucial issues in this field: these are scientific and economic, given the potential wealth of environmental deposits (biodiversity, preservation of ecosystems, etc.), but also legal and technological. They then present the three scenarios selected by the study: “Crisis and Compartmentalization, Political Tensions”; “Cycles as Usual”; and “Global Crises”. They end by teasing out the possible prospects for France and Europe, stressing the need to gain a foothold as soon as possible in the global competition in this sector, in terms of positioning industry for the exploration and exploitation of resources, assessing the scale of resources, applications for exploration permits, public/private cooperation etc.
Given its technological resources and long-recognized skills in the study of the ocean beds, France must remain a major player in this sector, particularly at a point when it is coming to be of crucial strategic interest.
The economic rise of the major emergent nations has, over several years, created a series of tensions on the energy and minerals markets. Quite legitimately, an increasing number of individuals are aspiring to a standard of living comparable to that of the industrialized countries and this is increasing the demand for basic raw materials (oil, gas, metals etc.) at the very point where production capabilities in certain sectors are reaching their limits. In such a context, there are ever greater needs in the area of mineral resources for exploration, prospecting and the improvement of extraction systems. Unfortunately, as Jacques Varet shows in this article, for lack of sufficient investment in the relevant scientific training in recent decades the world is short of qualified personnel to meet those needs.
Basing himself on various foresight studies he has coordinated on employment in the geosciences up to the years 2020/2030, Jacques Varet provides a global conspectus on employment and training in this field. Reviewing the development of occupations in this field over the last 30 years, he shows that it is the environmental sector that has enabled in-depth training to be maintained in the geosciences, because the extractive industries and exploration went through a lean period between 1985 and 2005. Since then, however, these industries have seen a real revival. Given that many workers in these sectors will be retiring in the coming years, the jobs market in the geosciences is very buoyant and should remain so despite the crisis. The shortage of personnel trained in the field should persist, if not indeed intensify, until 2030. This situation applies in most of the countries concerned (USA, Canada, Europe). More precisely, where France is concerned, Jacques Varet stresses the country’s assets and weaknesses in this area and makes a number of recommendations for the French training system to meet the needs of the sector and attract people to it as a career.
Alors que la forêt française est l’une des plus étendues du monde, il semble qu’elle soit aussi l’une des moins rentables. Les professionnels de la filière forestière française se sont récemment mobilisés pour en dénoncer l’inadaptation au marché et la sous-exploitation.
Like all other economic activities, agriculture consumes energy; it is also, however, increasingly productive of energy (through biomass and biofuels, for example). In an energy context that is rapidly changing on account of the exhaustion of fossil resources and the battle against global warming, it is essential to be able to envisage the agricultural sector’s take – and that of its major players – on energy-related challenges. This is why the French Ministry of Agriculture’s Centre d’études et de prospective launched a broad foresight study in 2009-2010 entitled, “Agriculture Energy 2030”, the central lessons of which are reported here by Céline Laisney, Fabienne Portet and Julien Vert.
After an assessment in which they specify the links between agriculture and energy in France and stress the various medium-to-long-term issues in the field, the authors outline this foresight study and the four scenarios to which it gave rise. These four contrasting scenarios, each translated into figures, describe the probable developments of French agriculture in various energy contexts up to 2030. They are termed, respectively, “Territorialization and Energy Conservancy in the face of Crisis”, “Dual Agriculture and Energy Realism”, “Health-Agriculture without Strong Energy Constraints”, and “Ecological Agriculture and Energy Management”. Highlighting the difficulties to come, but also the opportunities available to the agricultural sector, these scenarios provide the public authorities with new elements to feed into their agricultural strategy, indicate the existing scope for manoeuvre and enable general objectives and various possible levers of change to be identified, depending on the lines of action preferred.
Despite the alerts that have been sounded since 1992, as international conferences aimed at curbing global warming have come and gone, and despite the plans for reducing the use of fossil fuel resources that call for the moderation of energy consumption, few actions or incentive measures (and even fewer directives) have actually been developed to act on the demand for energy. Yet, as Henri-Luc Thibault and El Habib El Andaloussi show here, some very concrete measures can have major effects in this area. This is the case with everything relating to the improvement of energy efficiency in building, where housing conditions, the housing stock and related energy consumption (heating, air-conditioning etc.) are concerned. Thibault and El Andaloussi show the potential impact of such measures in the Mediterranean region.
Basing themselves on the work of the “Plan Bleu” organization, which has worked out a revolutionary scenario for the energy field in the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean (to 2030), they begin by recalling the importance of buildings in regional energy consumption and the various levers that might be used to reduce that consumption (regulation, materials, efficiency of machinery etc.). In such a scenario, the potential for energy savings in this sector would seem considerable. Moreover, this would enable a substantial decrease in greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved, and would also have very positive effects in terms of job creation. In conclusion, the authors point out the need for investment over 20 years, depending on the particular country concerned, to put in place the five flagship measures of energy saving, which would be genuine investments for the future…
On 11 March 2011 Japan suffered an earthquake of very high magnitude, followed by a tsunami that left thousands dead in the Sendai region, the main consequence of which was a major nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power station. Given its seriousness (the highest level on the international scale of nuclear events), the accident revived the fiercest debates between supporters and opponents of nuclear power, debates echoed by Futuribles in the “Forum” feature of this special issue. Without taking sides in the debate, Michel Drancourt has his say on the question, attempting to gauge the consequences of the disaster for both Japan and the world.
He starts out from an article published in Futuribles more than 20 years ago (no. 136, October 1989), which laid out the conclusions of a report by the Tokai Bank on the potential economic consequences of an earthquake in Tokyo. As he stresses, the situation has changed and Japan no longer occupies the central place in financial and commercial dealings that it did in the 1980s; nevertheless, the country remains an importer and major supplier of many products, and a weakened Japan will have consequences industrially, politically and economically for the rest of the world. As for the comparison of the 1989 scenario with the 2011 reality, one of the lessons to be learned is that the scenario would not have been far wrong if the earthquake had not been accompanied by the tsunami and the subsequent nuclear accident. Hence two longer-term conclusions: in foresight exercises, we should not work on the basis of a single, isolated risk; and, most importantly, sources of energy production should be diversified as greatly as possible.
In the increasingly alarming context of the exhaustion of fossil fuels and global climate change, various foresight exercises have been conducted in recent years with the aim of determining alternative paths for energy production and consumption. Among these, a scenario relating to France – the négaWatt scenario – was published in 2003, and then updated in 2006. It proposed radical change in this field, based on three main levers: energy conservation, energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.
Bernard David, who has kindly agreed to pen a critical analysis of this work for Futuribles, outlines the basic elements of the négaWatt scenario here and describes its originality but also its limitations. He highlights, in particular, various essential questions for arriving at an overall ecological assessment of the solutions advocated by négaWatt, in order to satisfy himself that they do not lead to indirect consumption or pollution likely to counterbalance the expected energy savings (this is why life-cycle analyses are so valuable). Obviously, we regret that the “négaWatt” Association was not able to present its work and its scenario itself, and we hope that the questions raised by Bernard David will encourage it to do so in these pages in the near future.
A little over five years ago, in January 2006, Futuribles devoted a sizeable special number to energy prospects and the greenhouse effect (no. 315). These were already troubling times and the gloomy prospects for the development of energy resources and the problematic of climate change were analysed in a number of articles. According to certain experts, “peak oil” was already reached in that same year of 2006: that is to say, oil production was thought to be at its height and would subsequently be stagnating before a (more or less rapid) decline. Furthermore, gas production ought to reach a ceiling around 2025-2030, as Jean Laherrère showed in these columns last April (no. 373).
In this context and given the undeniable efforts to be made to limit global warming, it has become essential, on the one hand, to act to control energy use and, on the other, to look to other sources of energy production – this second option being doubtless easier to implement than reducing consumption. Incontestably, renewable energies have an essential future role to play in the diversification of the energy mix and its orientation towards sustainable development. Cédric Philibert, a specialist in these forms of power within the International Energy Agency, here outlines their potential and the place they might occupy in years to come.
After presenting the IEA’s scenarios to 2035 and 2050 (which reveal the need for proactive policies to promote renewable energies), he focuses on the two major strands in this sector: wind power and solar energy. He then goes on to the question of what is meant by “renewable”: are these energies 100% renewable or have the supplies to be supplemented, the resources to be stored etc.? He analyses the role renewable energies could play in buildings and in the various sectors of industry and transport and under what technical conditions this might occur. Lastly, Philibert examines the economic aspects: what costs for what benefits? He shows, in substance, that, though the initial investment required is large (particularly in terms of incentive measures on the part of the public authorities), the game is certainly worth the candle in the long term, since “the massive deployment of renewable energies seems to be the key today” for responding to global energy needs and combating climate change.
Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.