Mobility, a priority of the ecological, territorial and economic

The crisis of the Covid19 us into a major economic crisis unprecedented and with a forecast of the order of 10 % of GDP in 2020. The economic and social consequences will be very significant, with a million additional unemployed persons in France. A recovery plan is announced to absorb this shock. The difficulty will be to reconcile the economic issue with two long-term challenges : climate change and territorial equity, the crisis of the yellow vests we have shown the severe fractures of the corporation. These two requirements are in fact related.

→ ANALYSIS.The government multiplies the billions in the face of the crisis

The car is in France one of the 1st posts of GHG emissions. This is why it is urgent to décarboner mobility and good sense would, as well as the announced recovery plan devotes a very important component. This is all the more relevant that France is a world leader in transport in many areas : We have so of the best ingénieristes in the world, the largest groups of CONSTRUCTION and transport services, laboratories and schools recognized and approved, sometimes 3 centuries of history, the industrial car plan, start-up many with unicorns, international. It is also relying on this ecosystem powerful that it could provide the necessary economic rebound with activities 100 % located in France.

Reducing emissions requires décarboner the movements from the periphery to the large cities, in particular those related to the work. They constitute the bulk of the emissions is because they are made to 80 % by car because of the failure of our rail system that has not followed the urbanization of jobs and the attractiveness of large cities. Internal travel to town centres only account for 2% of emissions. It will be tomorrow, two to three times more public transport to link the peripheries to the centres of employment. These trips will have to be done otherwise than in the car, in order to limit GHG emissions, to ensure the quality of the air, and finally preserve the public spaces in city centres, which are part of our common property. This requires a major investment in public transport infrastructure in park-and-ride, in lanes, in the use of digital systems to facilitate and optimize the uses. Moreover, as rightly reminds us Esther Duflot Nobel prize in economics, ” mobility is one of the main ways of equalizing standards of living between regions, and absorption of economic disparities, and regional “. It is therefore also a means of territorial equity and allow the weakest to take advantage of the opportunities of the city ; move in transit, returns to the user 2 to 5 times less expensive, depending on the situation and thus allows all those who can not afford to stay in the city center to move to the acceptable costs and easier access to employment.

→ MAINTENANCE. “30 to 40 % of travellers on average are income in the transport. “

With the bike for short distances, this program will allow to reduce very significantly the car traffic in major cities and can be deployed within 5 years. It will mobilise the Regions and Cities, with the support of the State and of the European Union. The law of orientation of mobility opens up possibilities with, in particular, the territorial coordination to deploy a common strategy at the scale of urban areas. The law on decentralization in the course of the discussion would also accelerate the implementation of reserved lanes for public transportation and carpooling if we transferred national roads to the regions and cities on their territories.

So that they concentrate the wealth, the cities have a moral responsibility vis-à-vis their surroundings. The urgency is to re-create the link between all people, between the centres-cities of agglomerations and their peripheries. This program will be inclusive and ambitious can and must mobilize policy-makers, businesses and citizens for the greater benefit of the climate, and justice territorial.


how MPs want to influence the post-epidemic

The sixty parliamentarians involved in the citizen consultation platform to think “the day after” put on the table some thirty proposals, marked on the left, in favor of a social and ecological shift in government policy .

→ ANALYSIS. Parliamentarians imagine an ecological and social “Next day”

Now how do we get them to work? “By common legislative actions”, replies MP Matthieu Orphelin (ex-LREM), one of the initiators of the platform. Understand: common legislative proposals and mutual support, but also attempts to influence government projects, for example the next amending finance bill.

A logic of going beyond parliamentary groups

And a ninth parliamentary group, gathering dissident walkers to formalize this new current? The hypothesis is raised by everyone, starting with those it serves. Gilles Le Gendre, the patron of deputies on the march, believes that “Political ulterior motives” underpin the platform, even if it recognizes “The legitimacy of the initiative”. However, according to Matthieu Orphelin, “There is no connection” between the platform’s proposals and the hypothesis of this new group, which it does not confirm elsewhere.

→ RECAP ’. Coronavirus: the essentials of Wednesday, May 13

On the contrary, he, whom certain articles have nevertheless presented as the potential president of this group, assures that there is “No timing” arrested for its creation and rather sees in these rumors the sign that the initiative of a transpartisan platform ” disturbs “ (the platform brings together deputies from LREM, Modem, UDI, Libertés et Territoires, Socialistes and related groups).

In fact, several parliamentarians who signed this call to think about the “next day” are not affected by this possibility. This is the case for example of the socialist deputy Dominique Potier, well anchored in his group, or of Catherine Wonner, recently excluded from the majority, who claims to have “Learned in the press” rumors of a new group and having never been approached to be part of it.

Towards a new political recomposition?

However, the transpartisan dimension of the initiative transgresses the logic of parliamentary groups, which makes some teeth cringe. ” In politics, there are always temple guards and explorers “Laughs a concerned elected official.

For Dominique Potier, this initiative is also part of another cross-party movement, the “Accelerate” network, created after the resignation of Nicolas Hulot and which brings together more than 160 parliamentarians committed to the ecological transition. ” This partial overrun is debated, it can fracture the groups “, Recognizes the elected official of Meurthe-et-Moselle. For one of the deputies involved, this is even a step towards a “New recomposition of the political world in view of the presidential elections of 2022”, after the first disruption of the emergence of Emmanuel Macron.

→ THE FACTS. In the National Assembly, the agenda and the hemicycle fill up again

New group or not, the deputies signatories of the platform display in any case their intention to influence the rest of the quinquennium, after the promises of social and ecological shift conceded by the government at the heart of the health crisis. ” I want real political change. If the government is ready, banco “, Ensures Matthieu Orphelin, who says to exchange regularly with the president of the Republic. ” But we will be very vigilant in the Assembly “, He warns.

Getting to weigh, without creating a break, is a delicate balance that works on the left wing of macronia. “ After the yellow vests, we were made to hope for Act 2. We messed up with the pension reform. We can’t afford to miss act 3 “, warns another parliamentarian who has signed the appeal, whose name is also circulating to join the possible new parliamentary group. “However, we must not turn into slingers. I did not vote for Hamon in 2017! “


when plants replace concrete

It is a popular place for tourists, who like to sail on the Mayenne and admire its bucolic shores. The Grez-Neuville canal, north of Angers (Maine-et-Loire), has been the subject of rather rare experimentation on this scale for two years: restoring its banks by preferring plants to stones. “We had observed their degradation during periods of low water, says Gwennaël Cordier, technician in aquatic environments in the department. To restore them, two options were available to us: resort to civil engineering, with masonry or riprap, or else to plant engineering, by focusing on the capacities of plants to fix and consolidate the banks. We chose the second. “

To select the best species to implant, the department relied on the expertise of the Fresne Agricultural High School, near Angers. “They had to resist the water, the waves caused by the boats, the erosion and the nutria which dig galleries, explains the technician. They also had to develop slowly and require little maintenance. “

Nature-based solutions

The choice fell on the plantation of earth sausages surrounded by coconut fibers, sown with helophyte plants such as irises or rushes. “They have the particularity of having their feet in the water and their heads in the sun”, describes André Evette, engineer and researcher at the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Inrae), which closely monitors plant engineering projects in France (1). “These nature-based solutions are not new and date back to Antiquity, he recalls. But we lost sight of them from the 1950s and the transition to all-concrete. It was the era of the Thirty Glorious Years, and we didn’t have the same way of seeing the world as today … “ In the 1970s and 1980s, Austria and Switzerland brought these techniques up to date, followed by Germany and the Netherlands. In France, they have reappeared for ten years.

“Their major advantage is to favor the ecological restoration of the banks, high places of biodiversity, explains the researcher. The plants filter the pollutants that arrive in the water, provide a welcome shade and recreate a whole habitat in the air as in the water: insects, dragonflies, crayfish, freshwater shrimps, fish … “ A virtuous circle, which saves money. “Not only is it better to work with living things, but it’s also cheaper, confirms Gwennaël Cordier. Our plant site costs around € 40,000, when a “hard” development can amount to millions of euros, taking into account the difficulties of access to the site for construction machinery. “ Finally, if its effectiveness is not as immediate as a concrete installation, over time, “Plant engineering is becoming stronger than civil engineering”, he continues.

→ READ. Microplastics, nitrate: World Bank investigates invisible water pollution

Work on the Grez-Neuville canal was carried out in October 2018, testing two techniques. For the first 75 meters, a strip of local herb seeds has been planted above the helophyte sausages in geotextile. “It is a good alternative to the plastic sheet because it degrades naturally. “ Over the next 75 meters, a bed of willow plants has been added. The most effective technique will be reproduced on the 650 meters of remaining banks. A year and a half later, the first assessment is already positive: “The plants are well anchored to the ground and the willows have grown very well, greet the technician. But we must wait until spring 2021 to draw our conclusions. “

Only 5% of rivers in good ecological condition

In this department concentrating 7,000 kilometers of rivers, of which only 5% are in good ecological condition, the restoration of the banks and, ultimately, the recovery of the quality of the water prove to be crucial. “With plant engineering, we try to repair the mistakes of the past”, explains Marc Helbert, head of the water service in the department, which coordinates an Observatory of water quality in Anjou. “What weighs most on us is the fish index, he comments. It will replenish when they can circulate more freely in our waterways. But these actions will take time to produce their effects… ”

Especially since these techniques inspired by nature are not so simple to implement. “They require multidisciplinary skills and strong field experience, comments André Evette. It is not enough to follow technical rules like in civil engineering. Living things are impossible to model. How to predict that a beaver will eat the willow that has been planted? “ If plants can solve a multitude of problems – maintaining agricultural land in the face of erosion, preventing avalanches in the mountains, cleaning up soil, phyto-purification, wind or noise barrier – they cannot always be enough . “When you have a torrent near a school, you may not be going without concrete to secure the site, comments the researcher. In an urban environment, you don’t always have a choice. But mixed solutions are developing. “

→ REPORTAGE. At the Paris Aquarium, fish grow tomatoes

Nor is it easy to convince of the economic profitability of these developments. The establishment of hedges or buffer zones not cultivated in agricultural zones, for example, requires educational work. “Obviously, the financial gain is not necessarily demonstrated for a productivist agricultural model”, recognizes André Evette.

Last merit of plant genius: embellishing the landscape. “In front of our work on the canal, we have a very busy towpath, notes Gwennaël Cordier. Walkers are delighted with the new plantations. “ What hardly surprises André Evette: “Plants have a positive influence on humans: our blood pressure decreases in the forest, seeing a tree from its window facilitates healing in the hospital like concentration in a classroom. Putting plants back, in the end, is no longer disjoining man and nature … “


Not enough fish, too many pesticides

The balance sheet drawn up in 2018 by the Observatory of water quality in Anjou over the last ten years draws up an unquestionable observation: too much nitrates, presence of 151 pesticide molecules (glyphosate, atrazine…), average or even bad fish population.

However, two indicators experience improvement (phosphorus, nitrogen) linked to
progress in wastewater treatment.


Zelensky awarded rescuers who put out a forest fire in Chernobyl :: Society :: RBC

Vladimir Zelensky


During a working visit to Chernobyl, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky presented state awards to 22 rescuers who participated in extinguishing forest fires in the exclusion zone near the nuclear power plant. This was reported by the press service of the office of the head of state.

Zelensky flew by helicopter to the affected area, after which he expressed gratitude to all the rescuers who participated in the extinguishing. Fire destroyed over 11 thousand hectares of forest.

In Kiev, recorded smoke due to fires in Chernobyl

Views of Kiev

“We are grateful to you for your great work. Now at a height, from a helicopter, we saw the real result of your work. You are heroes for us, ”Zelensky said.

In early April, a forest fire in the Chernobyl exclusion zone covered an area of ​​more than 100 thousand hectares. In the center of the areas covered by fire, the Ukrainian Environmental Inspectorate recorded an excess of normal radiation levels.


Marine indicators of ecological change

” NOTwe are today French laboratory hosting the most scientific programs supported by the French Polar Institute “, points out Christophe Guinet, director of the CEBC. A situation inherited from the specialties of the first researchers assigned to this CNRS research unit, now associated with the University of La Rochelle.

“The CEBC is 50 years old and this longevity is one of its characteristics. We rely on observations, some of which, for the TAAF, started seventy years ago. We are the third generation of researchers to work on this data ”, specifies Christophe Guinet, who points out the trend reversal operated by his supervisors with regard to a laboratory whose usefulness was questioned in the 1980s.

→ ANALYSIS. Marine indicators of ecological change

“Some doubted the value of continuing to follow, for example, populations of large albatrosses, once established that they lived to sixty years of age, breed every two years and other descriptions of the species. “ Today, these long series of observational data on about thirty species of birds and marine mammals have become a real asset, an essential basis for understanding environmental changes. The laboratory installed in Chizé is one of the rare in France, but also elsewhere in the world, to have such series over the long term.

Ocean State Sentinels

“In Deux-Sèvres as in Kerguelen or in Adélie land, our teams have in common to work in evolutionary ecology: how species adapt – or not – to changes in their environments. Knowing that today things change very quickly due to human activities: alteration of habitats, pollution, overexploitation of natural resources, global warming. “

Albatrosses, penguins, orcas, elephant seals are sentinels of the state of the oceans in which they evolve, and the observations of the CEBC, which developed fine techniques of bio-telemetry and bio-logging, allow to deepen knowledge on these marine environments. “While monitoring the behavior of elephant seals that can dive to – 2,000 m, the devices transmit oceanographic parameters such as temperature, water salinity, diffuse oxygen, density of phytoplankton. This shows us how the biology of the ocean is changing. “

Informal coast guard

The CEBC director highlights the contributions of researchers working on marine predators in terms of species conservation: “Our observations provide the basis for considering regulatory measures. ” Some contributions are more unexpected. Observing howler albatrosses foraging has revealed the presence of illegal fishing vessels in some areas of the vast southern ocean. Large seabirds act as informal coast guards.

→ READ. The albatross, a precious ally against illegal fishing

Overall, the ecological research carried out by Chizé’s teams is fueling awareness “Of an unprecedented and less publicized biodiversity erosion crisis than global warmingt climatic ”, notes Christophe Guinet.


Should the state demand ecological compensation from the companies it supports?

► What is the 20 billion euros intended for large companies

Among the measures voted by French deputies on the night of Friday April 17 to Saturday April 18, 2020, there is an envelope of 20 billion euros intended to recapitalize strategic enterprises in difficulty.

It is a question of coming to the aid of groups in the most abused sectors, in particular the automobile and the air (Air France, Renault…), provided that there are challenges of technological sovereignty in particular.

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Quickly after the start of the crisis, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, said that the government stood ready to take stakes in these companies, or even nationalize them. The challenge is to prevent these companies, considered industrial flagships, from being bought at low prices by foreign investors.

►What are the NGOs asking for?

A group of NGOs, including Oxfam, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth deplored Friday, April 17, that this aid is not matched with“No condition (…) when they could bail out polluting companies, which contribute significantly to climate change”.

For these NGOs, it is necessary to start the transformation as quickly as possible because it is a long-term project. Any “classic” revival of these sectors would lead them to perpetuate the current model for long decades. “To support at arm’s length and unconditionally multinationals which will have to transform themselves anyway, is to make their employees even more vulnerable to the next crises”, warns Cécile Marchand, Friends of the Earth.

For his part, the deputy Matthieu Orphelin assures not to neglect the stakes of such rescues, in terms of sovereignty, jobs and activity. Without forgetting the problem of international competition: how can we further restrict French companies if others do not respect the same rules of the game?

Matthieu Orphelin nevertheless believes in The cross than “The shareholder state (…) cannot invest in the emergency without thinking at the same time of a long-term strategy. “ And to denounce these sectors which, according to him, do not cease dodging any project of environmental regulation, or do everything to unravel them.

Such an opportunity to seize the environmental issue has already been lost after the 2008 crisis, Patrice Geoffron, professor of economics at Paris-Dauphine University, believes. Now we can’t afford to wait another ten years. “

In Austria, Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler, a member of the Greens in government with the Conservatives, suggested that the large aid package that Austrian airlines will need should be matched with environmental compensation.

►What is the government’s position?

Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire assured Friday that the 20 billion euros for businesses in difficulty would not be “Not a blank check”. There will be two sets of “Conditions”, he assured: “A recovery and competitiveness effort” as well as’“An ambitious environmental policy”. And to add: “These large industrial companies must be fully committed to a low-carbon economy”.

→ READ. Coronavirus: despite the health crisis, Europe wants to stay the course

During the night, an LREM amendment was also voted so that the businesses supported were “Exemplary” in terms of social and environmental responsibility (CSR). But “Companies already have CSR policies (…) which are not binding and which do not allow their activities to be aligned with the Paris Agreement”, says Cécile Marchand, Friends of the Earth.

This debate will also be played out at European level, in particular through the fate reserved for the Green Pact announced at the end by the European Commission (a series of investments in favor of the climate and the environment), which will be examined on Thursday 23 April by the European heads of state and government. Some Member States are already proposing to suspend it in the face of soaring spending on coronavirus.


Despite the health crisis, Europe wants to stay the course

Will 2020 be a white year for the climate emergency, relegated to the background in the face of the imminent threat of the coronavirus? COP26 for the climate, which was to take place in the fall in Glasgow, has been postponed to 2021 by the British government, as other important environmental meetings (read at the bottom of the article).

→ READ. Coronavirus: what does the European Union do?

However, this COP was the most awaited since that of 2015 in Paris, the States being invited to revise their objectives for reducing carbon emissions. The challenge is to contain global warming to 2 ° C, while the commitments currently made do not give hope for an increase of less than 3 ° C.

Unchanged ambition

Brussels promises to stay the course anyway. “We will not slow down our work”, promised the Dutchman Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the environment and “Green deal”, program supposed to make the ecological transition on a continental scale.

“We have adopted key EU laws to achieve our current climate and energy targets by 2030. In the long term, we are committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 and have proposed a climate law that will make this legally binding objective “, he recalled.

Officially, the European executive still intends to present in September 2020 an impact study which details the enhancement of its ambitions. The objective is to reduce carbon emissions by 50 to 55% by 2030 compared to those of 1990, while the target is now 40%.

Risk of telescoping

But the colossal means deployed to keep public and private borrowing capacity afloat make the defenders of the climate fear the worst. The European Central Bank (ECB) notably announced a “Bazooka” 750 billion euro financial guarantee by the end of 2020 to bail out the economy. “The risk is to restart the machine as it is, that is to say very dependent on fossil fuels”, underlines Romain Pasquier, specialist in modes of governance in Europe for the CNRS.

On Thursday, April 16, the European Parliament is due to vote on a resolution urging not to lower the environmental guard. The institution will probably not be unanimous, while some elected officials, mainly PPE (center-right) or CRE (nationalist right), but also other groups, believe that this is no longer the priority. As for Poland and the Czech Republic, they have simply asked for the Green Pact to be abandoned in the name of the health crisis.

Belgian Philippe Lamberts, co-president of the Greens in the European hemicycle, warns of any backsliding. “Just as States are spending today without counting – and rightly so – on equipping themselves with respirators, the climate issue is a question of survival: we are talking about necessary investments”, he claims.

“The ECB at the time created money to save the financial sector, it can do so for the ecological transition without the risk of hyper-inflation. We are not in the 1920s! “

A fight on two fronts

For environmental NGOs, economic and ecological recovery must go hand in hand. Oxfam Acting Director Chema Vera called on governments to “Avoid repeating the same mistakes as those made after the 2008 global financial crisis, when the stimulus packages caused emissions to rebound” of carbon. The WWF France association offers condition public aid to large companies and banks based on their commitment to the ecological transition.

“The question that must be asked today is that of our relationship with nature. Because there is no healthy man on a sick planet, whether because of global warming, pollution or the collapse of biodiversity “, pleads the president of the organization, Isabelle Autissier.


An upset agenda

Apart from Glasgow’s COP26 on climate, three other world-class environmental meetings have been canceled:
– The congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), expected in Marseille from June 11 to 15, should finally be held in January 2021. It is on this occasion that the update of the Red List IUCN Endangered Species is released.

– The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), the objective of which is to establish a global plan to protect and restore ecosystems by 2050, initially scheduled for Kunming (China) in October, is postponed on an as yet undefined date, in the first half of 2021, or even in early April.

– Another UN summit on the sustainable use of ocean resources, planned for Portugal in collaboration with Kenya, next June, will also be held at a later date.