L’argent par les fenêtres

COPENHAGUE – En matière de réchauffement climatique, nous sommes capables de beaux discours mais de peu de bon sens – ce qui n’est pas sans conséquences. Par exemple, le protocole de Kyoto compte déjà parmi les politiques publiques les plus coûteuses mises en œuvres jusqu’ici, et l’action qui sera menée dans son prolongement à Copenhague fin 2009 promet de battre tous les records. Nous ferions mieux de ne pas nous tromper. Pour l’heure, il est probable que nous dépensions des sommes considérables pour presque rien.

A cet égard, la nouvelle politique de l’Union européenne consistant à diminuer les émissions de CO2 de 20 % d’ici 2020 est un bon exemple. Certes, il est toujours plus simple de promettre que de tenir ses promesses – cette crainte est particulièrement pertinente au sujet de l’Union européenne. Or, même si les promesses sont tenues, les bénéfices dépasseront-ils les coûts ? Il est étrange, mais non surprenant, que ce point ne soit pas tant débattu.

Une réduction de 20 % des émissions de CO2 de l’Union européenne imposée vigoureusement au cours de ce siècle ne ferait que retarder les hausses de température dues au réchauffement planétaire de deux années à la fin du siècle, de 2100 à 2102 – changement négligeable. Par contre, les coûts seraient tout sauf négligeables : selon l’Union européenne, ils s’élèveraient à environ 60 milliards de dollars par an. A n’en pas douter, il s’agit d’une forte sous‑estimation (les données précédentes étaient deux fois plus élevées), puisqu’elle exige depuis de ses membres de réduire les coûts de la façon la plus intelligente qui soit.

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