Stimulus green economy : in search of the GDP of the future - The Point

GDP " green ", carbon footprints, climate debt : the runs to measure the impact of the economy on the environment are many, but "the indicator magic" that i

Stimulus green economy : in search of the GDP of the future - The Point

GDP " green ", carbon footprints, climate debt : the runs to measure the impact of the economy on the environment are many, but "the indicator magic" that is likely to dethrone the inevitable gross domestic product seems to be impossible to create.

GDP-green ?

as early As 1972, economists William Nordhaus and James Tobin proposed a calculation of the growth that would also take into account, in particular, unpaid work, leisure time and the negative effects of urbanization on the environment (" disamenities of urbanization ") in an indicator that they called Measure of economic well-being (MBE). In 2006, the world Bank views the principle of" adjusted net savings ". Calculated for 120 countries and regularly updated, it adds to the net savings in national education spending and subtracts for the depletion of energy, mineral and forest resources, and damage caused by the carbon dioxide and particulate emissions. The united nations has proposed at the Rio Summit in 2012, "global Indicator of wealth" (IGR), which combines economic capital, social and natural.

To Richard Black, director of the reflection group on Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, " one of the problems with all the alternative indicators, is that there are so many ". "The GDP is a very simple concept," says the analyst. "But from the moment it is said that it must include carbon emissions, someone else may feel that it should first of all include natural resources. Quickly, it becomes a conversation very academic. There is always something more that we should be able to take into account. "

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A dashboard ?

In France, a commission chaired by economics Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz board in 2008 to " identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress ". "The Commission has argued that it would be a mistake to try to have a single measure that encompasses all, recalls Stiglitz. We called for a dashboard. "

The report criticizes, in particular to GDP as "green" to allow, for example, emissions of CO2 by investing in machines that produce more. It advocates the use of a monetary indicator relating to economic sustainability, flanked by various physical measures of the environmental impact.

carbon emissions ?

Among these measures, carbon emissions are an important factor. However, they have the risk of minimizing the damage to the environment, according to the economist indicators, Florence Jany-Catrice, since a country can be ranked " by exporting, for example, a part of its pollution in other countries. This is the case of France : it is good in terms of emissions, but not in terms of footprint ". To prevent this, writes, for his part, John Ferguson, an analyst at the Economist intelligence Unit, " we need a lot more data on carbon emissions, in particular throughout the supply chain ".

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The difficulty of such tools lies in their predictive aspect. "The economic statistics habitual, it is to measure the present, explains Didier Blanchet, director of economic studies and summaries of the Insee. When we speak about the future damage of a tonne of CO2 emitted, it is monstrous, we can only build hypotheses. "Insee, the physical indicators are related to sustainability have been "much strengthened" during the decade that followed the report, "continues Didier Blanchet," but the stumbling block is always the question of the conversion to a monetary equivalent that we could "plug in" on the figures of the national accounts. "That is to say on the inevitable GDP, which measures the wealth created in the space of a year.

The climate debt ?

Instrument predictive also but less complex, the idea of climate debt studied by the French economic Observatory (OFCE) in relation to the ambitions of the Paris agreements. "We are committed to zero net issuance in 2050 ", develops Didier Blanchet. "Given the state of knowledge and what we know about the costs and techniques of décarbonation, we can encrypt that meet this target will cost us-in accumulated a year of GDP. "

The ecological footprint ?

Explicitly founded on the notion of sustainability and popularized today by the WWF, the concept of ecological footprint measures the area required to produce what we consume and absorb our waste. It also allows you to calculate the day of the exceedance, the one from which all the resource of the ea is consumed. This date, which fell on July 29, 2019, will be extended by three weeks this year thanks to the containment.

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"Despite its methodological problems, it is an educational tool that is absolutely essential," says Florence Jany-Catrice, co-founder of the Forum for other wealth indicators (FAIR). For her, one of the major challenges is that of " irreversibilities ", points of no return in the destruction of the environment. "There is no indicator magic that will allow us to address this issue," warns she.

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Date Of Update: 19 June 2020, 02:33