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Between frugality and technologies, four societal choices to achieve carbon neutrality

This is an additional contribution that will fuel the rich and complex debate on achieving carbon neutrality. After the negaWatt association and the national manager of the Electricity Transmission Network (RTE), the Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) in turn presents its forward-looking work structured around four scenarios , ranging from an option focusing heavily on sobriety to one focused on technological innovations.

The first conclusions of this study entitled “Transition (s) 2050”, published on Tuesday November 30 after two years of work, will be supplemented by a series of thematic publications expected in early 2022.

The public establishment, placed under the dual supervision of the ministries of ecological transition and research, starts from an observation: if current trends continue, France’s greenhouse gas emissions will not have decreased. enough in 2050 for it to achieve – as it has committed to – carbon neutrality.

To achieve this, Ademe is therefore designing several paths. Unlike the work of RTE, which relates solely to the electrical system, it is interested in global schemes covering the building, mobility, food, agriculture, forestry and construction sectors as well. industry than energy. “Preserving the living world, for example, is essential to achieve carbon neutrality, in particular through the storage of CO2 and the production of biomass, explains David Marchal, Deputy Executive Director, Expertise and Programs. All of these levers are interconnected. “

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While the public debate is largely focused on the issue of renewable energies and nuclear power and President Emmanuel Macron has announced that he wants to build new reactors, Ademe hopes to broaden the scope of the discussions. “Carbon neutrality goes far beyond the energy issue or whether to build EPRs, assures Arnaud Leroy, CEO of Ademe. This implies societal choices in terms of governance, taxation, centralization or decentralization, diet, etc. ”

“Frugal Generation”

These social choices are at the heart of the four trajectories. To reduce their energy consumption over the next three decades, are the French ready to bet on sobriety, at the cost of radical changes in their habits, or do they prefer to bet on the development of new technologies and continue to live? more or less the same way as today?

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