Faire le bien en utilisant rationnellement les ressources

COPENHAGUE – Les responsables politiques trouvent maintes excuses pour ne pas investir dans les projets d’aide et de développement à l’échelle mondiale. Il y a trois semaines, j’ai rejoint un groupe composé de cinq lauréats du prix Nobel et de trois éminents économistes pour démonter l’une de ces excuses et apporter des éléments d’information pour savoir si l’argent permet de faire le bien.

Pour chaque point examiné, nous nous sommes concentrés sur les bénéfices par rapport aux coûts. Pour guider notre réflexion, nous avons posé la question suivante : si nous avions, disons, 75 milliards de dollars, comment les dépenserions-nous pour faire le plus de bien à l’échelle mondiale ? Nous avons placé chaque défi à relever sur un pied d’égalité. Le battage médiatique autour de certains problèmes n’entrait pas en ligne de compte. 

Tout en bas de notre liste figuraient les investissements les moins efficaces par rapport à leur coût et, en tête de liste, les plus rentables. La lutte contre le réchauffement climatique par la réduction des émissions de carbone occupe la dernière place (voir la liste ci-après). Cette conclusion s’appuie en partie sur les recherches d’un éminent auteur pour le Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat – groupe qui a partagé le prix Nobel de la paix l’année dernière – : dépenser 800 milliards de dollars durant un siècle uniquement pour réduire les émissions ne ferait que limiter des augmentations de températures inévitables de 0,2 degrés Celsius au bout du compte. Même en tenant compte de grands dégâts environnementaux dus au réchauffement climatique, nous perdrions de l’argent, avec un retour sur investissement de seulement 685 milliards de dollars.

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