VScarbon reddit, carbon expenditure, carbon tax… It is impossible not to notice that the lexical field of finance is gradually invading ecological literature. This democratization of an a priori technical vocabulary is apparently welcome, but it raises questions.
Indeed, using and abusing such terms around a subject that must quickly become much more precious than the immateriality induced by the reference to money does not ultimately distance us from the concrete issue highlighted recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?
Thus, carbon is taxed, spent, credited, compensated. Like its big – and old – sister, money. This choice of vocabulary and method is ultimately hardly surprising, if we consider that citizens, companies and States can and must take responsibility on this subject, and finally confer a scale of value on each of their actions or decisions .
Out of a capitalist approach
We can a priori rejoice in it, but we must, I believe, go even further and gain height. Without (yet) going so far as to imagine a world where we would be partly remunerated in “carbon units”, why not include this carbon value very explicitly on each of the goods or services we consume?
It took a few years of education and lobbying to impose transparency on nutritional values on food players; How much will it take to convince brands to inform their consumers about the environmental footprint generated by their purchase?
Because, tomorrow, the carbon value will necessarily have to condition our decision-making, individual and collective, and benefit from an arbitration at least equivalent to that of the price. We might as well prepare for it now. Where the parallel between carbon value and monetary value is fallible, on the other hand, is that we are once again betting on a capitalist approach to an issue that is however absolutely not.
A radical paradigm shift
Because let’s be realistic: money is a (beautiful?) story that we tell ourselves to found, organize and regulate our modern capitalist societies, but its value remains in reality a vague concept. What is it indeed worth as soon as it is possible to create public debt indefinitely, but also to cancel it?
Conversely, carbon dioxide (CO₂) is a tangible, measurable element, the effects of which we can never cancel. Linking it in this way, or even conditioning it, to budgetary and financial elements therefore appears to this oxymoron, a simplification that it is crucial to avoid.
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