Dépassons la croisade contre le carbone

COPENHAGEN – Le débat sur le changement climatique se résume, pour l’essentiel, à une seule question, qui exaspère et qui sème la division: de combien faut-il réduire les émissions de CO2?

Ce rétrécissement du débat le rend improductif. Tout le monde veut mettre un terme au réchauffement planétaire, mais il s’agirait plutôt de se demander: comment faire pour le mieux? Il suffirait que l’on s’ouvre à d’autres moyens de freiner le réchauffement – donner du temps à la réduction des émissions, par exemple, ou nous préoccuper d’autres gaz à effet de serre. Le réchauffement climatique posant des problèmes énormes, la réduction de CO2 ne peut dispenser que des bienfaits énormes, mais la réduction des émissions de carbone requérant une réduction de l’énergie dont dépend la société moderne, elle signifie également des coûts importants.

Le professeur Richard Toll de l’université de Hambourg, le grand économiste environnementaliste, a procédé à une analyse comparée des avantages et des coûts qu’une réduction de CO2 représenterait, selon que sa mise en œuvre est lancée dès maintenant ou ultérieurement. Immédiate, elle est estimée à 17 800 milliards de dollars, si elle est, différée à 2 000 milliards de dollars. Quoi qu’il en soit, la réduction de concentration de CO2 – et donc de température – sera plus performante en 2100. Réduire les émissions coûte beaucoup plus cher aujourd’hui, parce que les substituts des énergies fossiles dont on dispose sont encore rares et coûteux. Nous n’avons pas les moyens que nous aurons, quand les sources d’énergie verte seront plus avantageuses.

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