Have environmentalists had the rug pulled out from under them? In a report submitted Monday, May 22 to Matignon, the economist Jean Pisani-Ferry, architect of Emmanuel Macron’s program in 2017, and the Inspector General of Finance Selma Mahfouz called for taxing the highest incomes and suggested a massive recourse to debt to finance the ecological transition. A shame for environmentalists who have been carrying these ideas for years, without ever having been really listened to. “If I had said the same thing, I would have been reviled. We were mocked, caricatured for nothing”, regrets the national secretary of Europe Ecology-The Greens (EELV), Marine Tondelier. However, she believes that “the cultural battle is being won”.
Same conclusion for former presidential candidate Yannick Jadot, who welcomes a report that “going in the right direction”. While noting: “When it’s the former editor of Macron’s program, it seems serious. When it’s the greens, there is a doubt “, he laments. The deputy for Paris Sandrine Rousseau recalls that the government rejected out of hand the tax proposals of the reportin particular the idea of creating a “green ISF”. “The problem is not environmentalists, but ecology”she analyzes.
Why did it take a former close friend of the Head of State to relaunch this crucial debate? “It all depends on the speaker. The same sentences uttered by a politician do not produce the same perceptions”, points out Simon Persico, professor at Sciences Po Grenoble. who adds: “Ecologists are not considered central players, they are only listened to with one ear. » Not only. “If you are only on the taxation of the richest, you are missing something in public opinion”adds Brice Teinturier, Deputy CEO of Ipsos.
The authors of the report warn that the middle and working classes will, initially at least, be penalized through measures mainly affecting “essential needs (housing, transportation, food)”. An idea that many environmentalists do not accept. MEP David Cormand recommends adding “200 billion euros in public subsidies” to the European budget (today around 170 billion euros), via tax measures, to ensure redistribution. In his view, Jean Pisani-Ferry is therefore not “not left enough”.
“Low level electoral niche”
Other environmentalists are more cautious. “Nobody says it’s only going to be happiness”, recognizes Yannick Jadot, who still thinks that Mr. Pisani-Ferry’s report could have gone much further. Even Sandrine Rousseau admits that “it will be more difficult for everyone”. But when she plays the Cassandres, she is freshly welcomed. In the public debate, for example, we had him “highly reproached” for advocating an increase in the price of gasoline. The fact remains that, for the elected ecofeminist, it is necessary to enter a society of “post-growth”of “post-productivism”. This political line “extremely left-wing, anti-liberal”, is hardly audible in public opinion and produces a “low-level electoral niche”, according to Brice Teinturier.
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