Lhe bases of our social contract are today threatened by repeated conflicts between different imperatives: energy, social, economic. We saw it with the episode of the “yellow vests”, we find it with the shocks on energy prices. But these conflicts will multiply. It will therefore be necessary, in the years to come, to establish a long-term approach to reconciliation to build the best compromise between these objectives. Mutually advantageous compromises are in fact possible, by articulating these different subjects in such a way as to highlight the synergies, the necessary trade-offs and possible solutions, as in the case of carbon pricing, which was at the origin of the revolt of the “yellow vests” (” Analysis of the conditions for recovering a fair carbon value », Ademe, July 2021). This type of approach, both analytical and political, would place the diagnosis of tensions and the search for compromise between apparently opposed objectives at the heart of the making of public policies.
In practice, it is a question of finding the means of articulating two principles: on the one hand, a principle of transparency and environmental action (everyone perceives the cost of their attacks on the environment and everyone contributes to collective action to effectively reduce them), on the other, a principle of economic efficiency and social justice.
Public policies can and should be assessed against these two principles. For example, a policy subsidizing fossil fuels, or granting some exemptions from environmental regulations, can be decided on the grounds of considerations of equity or competitiveness: it then corresponds to the second principle but, over time, it calls into question the first principle. Conversely, an undifferentiated environmental policy, which would not guarantee the effective participation of those who have the most capacity and would not preserve the most vulnerable, will be poorly articulated with the second principle, and risks quite simply being rejected.
Organize the assessment
Building a compromise between apparently opposing objectives requires a multi-year and long-term process of analysis, negotiation and management, and appropriate governance. This should not be yet another parallel process, but should include the very issue of reconciliation in all general policy processes: governance of public finances, negotiations of transition contracts between the State and regions , but also between the State and branches of professional activity. It is at the level of the Prime Minister, of the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning, that this approach must be carried out. It is therefore necessary to start by specifying these methods and reaching an agreement on the method with the stakeholders (public institutions, ministries, communities, constituted bodies and representation of the population by the social dialogue bodies – Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Commission National Public Debate).
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Source: Le Monde