In this two-stroke waltz, the executive knows that he can stumble at the slightest misstep. From the Elysee, where the Council of ecological planning was held on Monday, Emmanuel Macron drew this week his ridge line for an ecology that is "neither denial" nor "the cure". This, with the ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. According to the latest Odoxa-Backbone Consulting poll for Le Figaro, an overwhelming majority of French people (94%) approve of the "importance" of the climate issue. But two-thirds of the country (66%) say they do not "trust" the government to achieve the goal set by the head of state.
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After the test of announcements, the President of the Republic and his troops must now cross the hedge of social acceptability. In times of inflation, the slightest spark can revive the social inferno and raise the spectre of the "yellow vest" movement. "The French are suffering even more than at the time of the 'yellow vests'. They were in the street at 1.50 euros per liter of gasoline, today it is sometimes around 2 euros...", warns the RN deputy of Loiret Thomas Ménagé. This is why Emmanuel Macron has taken care to defend a "fair and accessible" roadmap that "leaves no one without a solution".
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A way to reassure low-income households, who fear being forgotten on the side of the road. "This is the challenge of the ecological transition. If we want to embody a popular ecology, we must be able to combine the end of the month and the end of the world. There must be a solution behind each constraint," says the Renaissance deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône Jean-Marc Zulesi. After a winter marked by sobriety, the vast majority of French people (72%) are already tightening their belts by reducing their consumption of water, gas or electricity. A small gesture for the planet, but a big gesture for the wallet.
As for the most expensive work, however, many prefer to postpone it. Admittedly, 46% have already started or considered a thermal renovation of their homes, but this represents a decrease of -7 points in a year and a half, since they were 53% in May 2022. "Ecology, although very important, remains a subject that must take second place to measures against inflation and the decline in purchasing power," decrypts Véronique Reille Soult, president of Backbone Consulting.
Among the files opened by the executive, the ban on "thermal sieves" has already caused some turmoil within the Macron camp. In accordance with the objectives set by the climate and resilience law voted in 2021, these dwellings classified "G" by the energy performance diagnosis (DPE) must indeed be withdrawn from rental from 1 January 2025. However, in an interview "in front of the readers" of the Parisian Wednesday, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, took the opposite foot of the government by saying he was "very favorable" to the "postponement of the calendar" which regulates this ban. Before backpedaling the same day in a statement to the press: "There is no question of changing the calendar (...). It is simply a question of thinking about how we can be simpler and clearer for our compatriots.»
Most of the owners concerned by this measure often have quite weak means and are absolutely unable to renovate without massive aid.
Bernard Carayon, LR mayor of Lavaur (Tarn)
A reversal of public opinion, of which 68% would approve the idea of postponing the measure. This is due to a slowing real estate market - due in particular to the explosion of interest rates - and the fact that new housing is struggling to emerge. In the municipalities affected by the housing crisis, several mayors are warning about this "social bomb" delay. "Most of the owners concerned by this measure often have quite weak means and are absolutely unable to renovate without massive aid," points out the LR mayor of Lavaur (Tarn), Bernard Carayon. In his commune, the former deputy has already been forced to reduce by almost half the number of buildable hectares. "There are fewer and fewer building permits, we reduce the eligible areas with zero net artificialization (ZAN), so prices are increasing. Who suffers? The working classes and young people".
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In popular and rural areas, the end of the thermal car is also likely to make some teeth cringe. From 2035, only electric vehicles will be put on the market. Not really decided to change cars, half of the French (50%) again plead for the postponement of the schedule planned by the government and the European Union. "Some are forced to take the car because there is less transport. These are the same ones that are pointed out because they would be responsible for all the evils of the earth, blows the communist deputy of Seine-Maritime Sébastien Jumel. Those, if we tell them: you switch to the electric car point bar, they will not have the financial means to do it.»
To try to reassure these households for whom the electric car remains "a luxury product", the Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, relies on the "social leasing" which must allow to "rent" one for 100 euros per month. There remains the question of the equipment of charging stations in these territories far from the metropolises, "where we have pushed back the Republic", points out Sébastien Jumel. "If we really want to reconcile the end of the world and the end of the month, we must start by finding a balanced development and public transport policies," he said.