“Capitalism has always found solutions”

May 16, 2022 at 4:59 p.m.,
Updated on May 16, 2022 at 9:43 p.m.

Reading time: 4 minutes

Economy

The president of the Mouvement des entreprises de France (Medef), Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, assures us: within the employers’ organization, we take the ecological transition seriously ». And for good reason : This is too serious a subject to be left to environmentalists alone. » On Monday, May 16, the business manager presented the results of a study carried out by the Rexecode economic studies institute for the Medef. The title of the presentation : Decarbonizing the economy, how much does it cost ? ». Dear, the analysts concluded. Their recommendation: reduce corporate taxation, without calling into question our economic model and our lifestyles.

On the observation, the employers’ organization agrees with the associations and climate experts: the current trajectory of France will not allow it to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. We must go faster »we insist, and the investments to be made are very significant ». For more than half an hour, the authors of the study in suits and ties paraded their slides » on two flat screens, detailing their results with a lot of Franglais. You have to do bottom up »we are told, and calculate the payback » of decarbonization on investment costs. France, detail the experts of Rexecode, currently invests around 600 billion euros per year for the ecological transition. According to their assessments, it should add 60 to 80 billion euros by 2030 to achieve its objectives. Households should increase their expenditure for the ecological transition by 20 %, and companies of 10 %.

As far as the method is concerned, the Medef has its own recipe: Obviously, we say that we must amplify the reduction in production taxes » companies, adjures Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux. It recommends an overall reduction in these levies of 35 billion euros per year, which would directly finance » the investments required to complete the transition. On the other hand, there is no question of reserving these tax cuts for companies actually implementing a decarbonization policy. Miracle of the invisible hand, these tax giveaways should be naturally » oriented towards decarbonization thanks to pressure from consumers and investors, thinks the leader of the employers’ organization.

A growth “ responsible ” and “ sober »

In this conference room with padded seats and large windows, the president of the Medef details his other recommendations: accelerating energy renovation, increasing public transport offers, creating a tax credit for companies that make investments in energy efficiency, or even a carbon tax at the borders in order to avoid a competitiveness differential » with the rest of the world. Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux also says he is in favor of ecological planning: As much planning on the subject of the economy frightens us, as much it seems necessary to us for ecology, [car] the temporal stakes go beyond the horizon of reasoning of the private investor. »

A change in our lifestyles and consumption, however, the leader of Medef does not want to hear. Yves Cochet-style sobriety is not ours »he said, before castigating the severe deprivation of liberty » that she would lead. We propose responsible growth, sober growth. » How to reconcile these two notions a priori contradictory ? The employers’ organization is banking on technology, and in particular on the electric plane. The Medef is on the side of those who innovate rather than those who want to restrict the freedoms of our fellow citizens », he assures. There remains a major problem: these alternatives will be available, at best, within a few decades, while our emissions must decline now. What to do while waiting ? We will not know more. Simply that capitalism has always found solutions to all the economic challenges it has had ».

The results of this study are not intended to remain between the light wooden walls of the large Parisian building where the Medef is headquartered. The employers’ organization hopes that its analyzes will reach the ears of the next head of government. During the campaign, we little and badly » talked about transition, according to Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, who would like that to change. He intends to continue to defend, in the most rational and scientific way possible »the dream of growth responsible ».

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