Why is climate, an important issue, not in the campaign?

The first round of the presidential elections will be held on Sunday, April 10. The fight against global warming is one of the biggest concerns of the French. However, the issue is interestingly absent from the discussion. A teacher-researcher from Clermont-Ferrand ESC gives us his analysis.

This is a question that will never be talked about much during the presidential campaign. In Ukraine, the problem of purchasing power, the climate emergency, which was overshadowed by the war, was pushed into the background. However, the latest IPCC report released in early April is alarming: “The evidence is there. Now is the time to act.” As with every new publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), words dominate. In recent weeks, climate represents only 1.5% to 5.5% of media time in the campaign, according to the barometer of the four NGOs of the “issue of the century”. Diego Landivar is a teacher-researcher at ESC Clermont-Ferrand and director of the Origens Media Lab. We asked him for his analysis of the absence of this core issue in the campaign.

Question : Why is there no climate in the presidential election debates?

Diego Landivar: I think there’s a reason why everyone is referencing it, that’s a reason for the context, the economic situation. Mainly about the war in Ukraine. I also think it was the fifteenth report that sounded the alarm, but the actors on the ground today, the elected officials, the decision makers in companies, don’t know how to deal with this urgency and speed. What to do in 3 years. The IPCC says so. We’ve burned our carbon budget, so we’ll have to go even faster. People are lost, don’t know where to start »

Question: The IPCC is sounding the alarm. What should be done ? To live sober?

Diego Landivar: We try to show that in lands, companies and organizations trying to implement ecological transitions, those that rely solely on technological development, productivity do not make it possible to branch out as it should. This is not enough. For example, municipal or individual swimming pools today consume less water, energy, emit less CO2, less heating. But at the same time, the fact that new swimming pools combine greater use, hammam and sauna gets in the way of this efficiency: eco-friendly swimming pools ultimately consume 1.5 times more energy and water than old swimming pools. Efficiency does not allow everything to be done. We will have to make quantitative arbitrations, waivers, and decide what is most important to citizens and best for social justice. It will be necessary to renounce everything unnecessary from the ecological order of privilege. The airline Clermont-Paris is used by 0.5% of the population of Clermont. It has become an ecological luxury. We make important choices and we don’t drown the fish while we wait for the hydrogen plane. »

Question: Green, you can be caricatured when sober. We remember the expression “Amis” used by a candidate. Does ecology reflect the image it wants to give?

Diego Landivar: The biggest problem is that ecology is often accused of being pessimistic, decadent… These are somewhat simple and classic accusations. Most of the time, when we talk about these issues, we say that we need optimism. I think it’s very sunny, optimistic, talking about trade-offs, new ecological arrangements, including planning. I’m not the only one saying this. I participated in the “Companies and post-growth” report. There are many companies that are in the post-growth paradigm: giving up on endless and absolute growth, giving up on technological innovation entirely. This is a real social project, super creative. There is everything to build, to discuss. It’s not an ecology that transitions to happy optimism, but at least we’re keeping some clarity.

Question: When we go to the polls on Sunday, as you said, are we in the right place and do we have these issues in mind?

Diego Landivar: The other problem with ecology is that we are not all in the same boat and we need to solve ecological problems collaboratively. It will also assume a certain level of conflict. There are power relations in ecology. Popular circles today think that ecology is only supported by a somewhat intellectual, somewhat above ground, not precarious thought. Ecology should speak more to the working classes and tell them that the ecological problem is a social problem, that we must get rid of these dependencies. Working in a supermarket in Croix-de-Neyrat, you are addicted, you don’t necessarily have a choice: you cannot green yourself spontaneously. We need to work head-to-head on this issue and create democratic strategies. As airlines, for example, we will have to decide what to keep and what not to keep as activities: that is, we must argue democratically to avoid top-down decisions. »

Question: IPCC reports show that manufacturers and large groups are polluting. But do small gestures count?

Diego Landívar: “Examined. There is a convergence to say that individual actions contribute 15% to 25% of what needs to be done for climate and ecological goals. It’s certainly not bad, we shouldn’t go beyond that, but three-quarters of the problem is system issues. For example, our dependence on cars on daily journeys, our national and global entertainment organizations, our food delivery methods. “We can take care of everything one by one, we can take a shower, we can never solve most of the problem,” he said.

Question: What about the digital space? Should he make his revolution too?

Diego Landivar: There is a low-tech movement today. He considers it necessary to put sobriety into the entire technological and technical universe. This means having a highly developed repair culture. I advocate the idea that repair has become a discipline taught to young children in school. We must also align our technological advances with the availability of resources. There should be full usability for sacred things like hospital, utilities, but already low-tech or even waived for unnecessary uses like watching video clips on YouTube. We met engineers at Orange who said we should give up HD, digital platforms like Netflix because we risk losing the entire web because of this bullshit. But the web is still great and great”

Question: There are many people who are still undecided about the second round. What would be your message, especially to young people on Sunday?

Diego Landivar: There will not be many possibilities to mobilize ambitious and systemic ecological programs. The sooner this is done, the less costly bifurcations will be economically and socially. The longer we wait, the harder it will be, the greater the uncontrolled migration with climate refugees. The more we foresee this, the more we vote for climate and ecological planning, the more successful we will be. »