We must “lead every consumer into the climate transition”

LWould the creation of a monetary tool make it possible to accelerate the transition to a decarbonized economy (The world from October 29-30, 2023) ? The idea is excellent, so excellent that it has been in place for ten years already, by encouraging households and businesses to open a “CO account2 » allowing the issuance of “green euros” dedicated to the climate.

In a visionary way, Michel Rocard (1930-2016) defended this project in a column co-signed with Michel Aglietta, published in The world from July 8, 2015. So good ideas never die…

From these ten years of experience, we must retain two essential factors likely to favor the generalization of a monetary and political innovation of this magnitude: the simplicity of appropriation by the citizen, and the integration into a shared political project.

Money is an everyday tool, whether it is buying jeans, renting your home or paying taxes. Promoting its circulation, that is to say its use, requires having payment and registration systems as simple as possible ociated with this currency. It is therefore impossible to envisage a “double payment” project, euros on one side and “carbon tickets” on the other.

Black market risk

On the consumer side, in addition to the cost of the jeans, you must plan to have carbon tickets; on the merchant side, if one of the two payment methods is missing, the queue gets longer! And, once the transaction has been carried out, the merchant must still establish double accounting, in euros and in carbon tickets, with this additional complication that these two prices can evolve entirely independently…

Submitting a carbon ticket also calls into question the liberating power of money, as in any consumption rationing system. And will we prohibit the unfortunate consumer who has used up his “carbon ration tickets” from buying his steak, his packet of cigarettes and his liter of diesel because he has not been virtuous enough over the weeks or previous months?

Certainly, we can imagine a “market” for these tickets intended for “deficit” consumers. But we then risk seeing a moral and financial disavowal of these buyers of carbon tickets, at the risk of causing destructive social polarization and fueling a black market and trafficking in ration tickets reminiscent of Vichy and all the States. authoritarians of the 20the century. What would happen if a carbon “moral police” had to define good and bad consumption, based on a “plan” decided from above?

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