Common Good Summit - The progress of human genius

June 14, 2024 Climate

This debate took place as part of the fourth edition of the Summit of the Common Good, organised jointly by TSE, Challenges and Les Echos-Le Parisien Evénements. On 13 and 14 June 2024, economists, economic decision-makers, representatives of public authorities and civil society came together to reflect on a central question: Who will pay for the common good?

It has taken almost 30 years, but climate change is now a fact. Since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, climatologists and scientists have been fighting to make society aware of the peril we were about to face. Their fighting spirit is inspiring, and we should be grateful to them.

At the same time, tremendous technological innovations have enabled us to move in the right direction. The falling cost of renewable energies (batteries, photovoltaic panels, wind turbines) and electric cars, the arrival of meat substitutes, the emergence of carbon capture technologies - all these have been rapid, unexpected and equally impressive. What progress human genius has made!

These advances have been achieved in part through public intervention, in which Europe has been a leader: the carbon market, subsidies for renewables and electric vehicles, and so on. The United States followed suit, with the Inflation Reduction Act, a ten-year, $369 billion law to support green industry. But there have been a few setbacks, such as the carbon-offset market, which is now in crisis.

The future remains worrying, especially for people living in tropical or sub-Saharan regions. Offsets are essential to help them achieve greener development and, above all, cope with the consequences of climate change. The G20's recent initiatives on global taxation are most welcome, as the challenge is immense. We will also need to be prepared to manage geo-engineering and, perhaps, major migrations. These are major challenges for global governance.

Article published in Challenges in June 2024

© Anaëlle Raguet © Franck Foucha