VERIFICATION – During the first debate of the five candidates for the ecological primary this Wednesday evening on LCI, the statements, arguments and promises of the candidates were verified live by our team of Verifiers. We summarize them here.
Felicia Sideris & Thomas Deszpot & Lucile Devillers –
Gathered this Wednesday evening on LCI, the five protagonists of the environmentalist primary debated around the major themes that will make the presidential election. More than two hours of discussions listened to attentively by our team of Auditors. Find the main statements of candidates scrutinized.
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Fewer and fewer farmers in France?
This is obviously one of the crucial questions for these five ecological candidates: the transition to organic farming. While everyone has put forward a number of arguments, Jean-Marc Governatori has called for a massive development of this agriculture in order to “greatly solve the unemployment problem”. According to the entrepreneur from Nice, half a century ago, the country “had an agricultural labor force of 14%”, while today “the active agricultural population is 2.5%”.
Somewhat inaccurate figures, but which clearly demonstrate the reality of this phenomenon. According to National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), which annually surveys the population, farmers represented 7.1% of the working population in 1982. However, today France has only around 400,000, according to their last publication in October 2020 That is only 1.5% of the country’s total employment. It is a little less than the figure mentioned by the candidate.
Does the IPCC recommend eating meat twice a week?
What about the meat consumption of candidates for primary school? On this subject, environmentalists have put forward different habits. “I eat it twice a week, as the IPCC suggests”, for example indicated Sandrine Rousseau. An argument to be qualified.
And for good reason, climate experts do not recommend adopting a specific diet, which would set the frequency with which to consume such or such food each week. “We do not recommend a change in diet”, affirmed in 2019 the president of an IPCC research group, Hoesung Lee. The IPCC thus remains true to itself, in a role which sees it limited to scientific observations.
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However, the organization has published important work on the question of food. Red meat, beef in particular, is singled out for the resources that its production requires. The most developed countries (North America, Europe) are particularly targeted, since meat consumption is the highest there, up to 10 times higher than that observed in the poorest countries.
In summary, the IPCC calls for meat to be less present on our plates in the most developed countries, without making specific recommendations on how often to consume it.
Nuclear power, the most expensive energy?
The five candidates also raised the crucial question of energy and the means at France’s disposal to phase out nuclear power. Described by Jean-Marc Governatori as one of the “worse” energies which is – with fossil fuels – he insisted on defending the idea with a strong argument for the most skeptical viewers. “We must tell people who are listening to us, nuclear power is the most expensive energy”, he thus launched.
It is true, nuclear costs more than all other renewable energies. In particular because of the work of the EPR of Flamanville, in the Channel, which blew up the cost of this energy. Pin by the Court of Auditors in a report of July 2020, the magistrates indeed noted that the cost of the electricity produced by this nuclear power station increased the cost of the megawatt to 110, even 120 euros. A staggering figure when compared to renewable energies. This is twice as much as for wind and solar. In the first case, the ecological transition agency estimates that the megawatt is 60 euros, while for solar panels, it oscillates between 40 and 80 euros.
However, as pointed out earlier, it was the construction of the Channel EPR that caused the costs to explode. But if we look at French power plants as a whole, the average cost of electricity drops to prices similar to those of nuclear energy. The price of the megawatt then falls back to around 60 euros, still according to the same Court of Auditors, in a report this time published in 2014.
Cannabis: French consumption greater and more repressed than elsewhere?
Asked about the sensitive issue of cannabis, Yannick Jadot highlighted the particular case of France, which has particularities compared to its neighbors. “We are the most repressive country and the country where there is the most consumption”, he assured. A statement generally true if we stick to a European comparison. From data collected by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) point out that in 2017, 44.8% of French people aged 15 to 64 had already used cannabis in their lifetime. This is more than in Denmark (38.4%) or Spain (35.2%). Above all, these figures turn out to be quite significantly higher than those of the European average, which stands at 27.2%.
Regarding the repressive dimension of the laws in force, we see that Yannick Jadot is telling the truth again. France, like six other European countries, makes cannabis use a criminal offense, potentially leading to prison sentences. Other countries showing comparable severity on the continent are Finland, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Sweden and Norway.
Is transport a bad student in reducing CO2 emissions?
Asked about a possible blockage of the economy because of the decrease in transport wanted by environmentalists, Eric Piolle reminded that the problem was not so much the number of transport as the greenhouse gas emissions of this sector. Saluting them “progress” made by industry or construction for thirty years, he noted that this was not the case for transport “who did not drop [ces émissions] since the 1990s “.
These are indeed figures from the Ministry of Ecological Transition. In a report on “CO2 emissions linked to energy in France from 1990 to 2017”, published in September 2019, the ministry is pleased that the latter “decreased by 19% between 1990 and 2018”. However, he noted a downside. At the end of the introduction we read that “despite the improvement in the performance of private vehicles and heavy goods vehicles”, CO2 emissions linked to this sector have “increased by 12%” over the same period. “Within the G7, only Japan and Italy, however, have lower emissions, compared to the number of inhabitants”, however relativizes the ministry.
A major decrease in the number of employees in the automotive sector?
Yannick Jadot addressed the issue of deindustrialisation by taking the example of the automotive sector. “For 10 years we have lost 25% of the workforce of the automotive industry in our country”, he said. An inaccurate figure: it indeed represents 205,000 jobs today according to Datas provided by the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers, against 225,000 10 years ago.
The decrease recorded is therefore less, around 8.9%. However, behind this assertion, there remains a part of the truth. If we go back in time, we can see a real decline, more marked than during the last decade alone. In 2004, the automotive industry represented 333,000 jobs. By expanding, it should be recognized that for 17 years, the decline has almost reached 40%.
Has the life of washing machines been reduced?
“Not a fan of degrowth”, Eric Piolle, however, wanted to support a measure that would prevent overconsumption. During the debate, the current mayor of Grenoble thus committed to “reduce waste” by proposing the creation of “10,000 repair shops”, in particular to give a second life to certain everyday tools. The candidate for the primary environmentalists thus took the example of a washing machine whose “life expectancy” in 2010 “was ten years old”, versus “seven years” today.
A figure that can be found from scratch in a survey by the association Stop planned obsolescence (HOP) and the start-up Murfy, an expert in the repair of large household appliances. In September 2019, they showed that “eight years, the lifespan of washing machines [avait] decreased by 30% “, from ten years in 2010 to seven years in 2018. Eric Piolle therefore did not invent this figure. Still, the results of this investigation are disputed.
At the time of its publication, the manufacturers of these products noted a significant problem with this report. Because he analyzes two separate studies, which cannot be compared. The first, from 2010, was carried out by the Group of brands of home appliances (Gifam). To do this, he asked for the age of the previous washing machine invoices to support it. While the other related only to observations from the Fnac-Darty group, which was satisfied with declarative data from its customers. Gold, “we know that, from memory, the lifespan is always minimized”, was in the Parisian Camille Beurdelay, General Delegate Gifam.
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