Individual negotiable quotas
For nearly thirty years, and since the first Earth Summit in 1992, which popularised the concept of sustainable development and called for a policy to limit the growth of average global temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from fossil fuel combustion, the policies implemented by the States, Europe and territories have all been "best-efforts" policies: action on the thermal insulation of buildings, energy efficiency of production processes, reduction of car mobility, etc.
These policies have failed. None of them were up to the challenge. None has been able to really change our production models and lifestyles. Fossil energy consumption has remained correlated with the evolution of gross domestic product at both national and global levels. Only economic crises, such as the financial crisis in 2008 or the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, have been able to produce visible, but very limited, effects in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We must now radically change our approach, move from obligations of means to obligations of results and, finally, consider that the international commitments made by Europe and France to assume their responsibility for keeping global warming "well below 2°", to use the expression of the Paris agreements, are to be taken seriously and require us to reduce our carbon footprint by 6 to 7% per year, this footprint including not only our visible consumption of fossil energy but also the grey energy incorporated in the goods and services we import. Grey energy, which today accounts for more than 40% of our carbon footprint.
If these commitments are taken seriously it means that our total carbon emissions, our carbon footprint, is capped and this cap is being reduced by 6-7% per year. So the governance regime for fossil energy is to manage this rationing and its annual reduction in a socially just manner.
Three governance regimes are a priori possible to achieve this: management by price by setting an increasingly high carbon tax so that solvent demand is reduced to the total of what is admissible annually; auctioning of these limited quantities; and equal quotas allocated to each individual, quotas that he or she is free to sell, thus making the efforts he or she makes to reduce his or her carbon footprint even beyond these quotas efficient and profitable.
This fight is decisive for the territories, but should preferably be carried out at the European level and failing that at the national level.