Gas station pump Wang Xiao/ZumaPress

L’opportunité du prix du pétrole

WASHINGTON, DC – La forte baisse du prix du pétrole brut depuis la fin juin a fait la une des journaux dans le monde entier – et a fait l’objet de beaucoup d'explications contradictoires. Certains attribuent la chute en grande partie à la baisse des attentes de croissance mondiale. D'autres se concentrent sur l'expansion de la production de pétrole et de gaz de l'Amérique. D'autres encore soupçonnent un accord tacite entre l'Arabie saoudite et les États-Unis visant, entre autres choses, à affaiblir des rivaux politiques comme la Russie et l'Iran.

Quelle que soit la raison de la baisse du prix – qui est probablement à rechercher dans une combinaison de ces facteurs – les conséquences sont les mêmes. Certes, comme la directrice générale du Fonds monétaire international Christine Lagarde l’a fait remarquer, la baisse du prix du pétrole pourrait stimuler la croissance mondiale, et en premier lieu dans les économies avancées importatrices de pétrole. Cependant, l'impact sur la lutte contre le changement climatique pourrait avoir des effets dévastateurs.

En effet, une baisse soutenue du prix du pétrole ne rendrait pas seulement les sources d'énergie renouvelables moins compétitives aujourd’hui ; elle serait susceptible d'entraver leur compétitivité future en décourageant la recherche et l'investissement. Plus généralement, elle réduirait l'incitation pour les consommateurs, les entreprises et les gouvernements à adopter des pratiques plus économes en énergie.

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