Dear friends,

On several occasions this year, I have drawn your attention to the need to change the way we approach the fight against global warming. I have shared with you the two op-eds published in the French daily Le Monde in March and August defending the need to start with obligations to achieve results and the idea of individual negotiable quotas, as well as the article published in the French daily La Croix in July analysing the reasons why the Citizens' Convention on Climate in France, which started out with excellent intentions, had been side-tracked by multiplying proposals that were not at the scale of the stake at hand.

These articles got a good response. My proposal for individual negotiable quotas, the details of which can be found on the website, has not met with unanimous approval. On the other hand, discussions have shown growing support for the proposed solution, if not for the solution itself, at least for its fundamental goal, which is to take into account our entire carbon footprint and to take our collective responsibility seriously by imposing an obligation to achieve results, to cap our carbon footprint and to reduce it at an annual rate of 6 to 7%.

Based on this, the time seems ripe to compare the responses that each of us is proposing to achieve this common goal. A call for debate has been drawn up with a number of specialists in the field, in a pluralist approach, including different schools of thought and different socio-professional backgrounds. The first signatories are Jean Jouzel, former vice-chair of the IPCC, Christian de Perthuis, founder and head of the Climate Economics Chair at Paris-Dauphine University, Michèle Rivasi, Member of the European Parliament, Corinne Lepage, former French Minister of the Environment, Michel Berry, founder of the École de Paris du Management, Dominique Méda, sociologist, holder of a chair at the Collège d'études mondiales, Géraud Guibert, founder of Fabrique écologique, Claude Simon, professor emeritus at the ESCP Business School, Armel Prieur, coordinator of the Compte Carbone website, and myself.

We feel it is important to broaden the circle of signatories so the call has a chance of being heard, and I thought that some of you would be willing to be part of it. The French daily Ouest France has already decided to disseminate the call in November. Here is the text:

The facts are cruel. After 30 years of speeches, catastrophic warnings, international treaties, protest marches and calls for responsibility, only the economic and health crises – the financial crisis of 2008 and the health crisis of 2020 – have been able to reduce, temporarily, global greenhouse-gas emissions. This means that despite all the declarations of intent our economic model is based, as in the past, on a strong correlation between GDP and ecological footprint.

The trends are not the same in all the regions of the world. In Europe, like in France, territorial emissions are falling sharply. But this decline is largely deceptive because the emissions induced by imports do not appear as from our territories whilst they are definitely part of our ecological footprint. This is what we were reminded of by the report of the French High Council on Climate Change in October 2020, which shows that our carbon footprint increased from 1995 to 2005, has been decreasing since then and is now around 11.5 tonnes per person per year, the same level as in 1995. Since 2010, though, imported emissions have exceeded domestic emissions.

We need a radical change in our pattern of life and development. Is there anyone left to doubt this? But how can we switch gears? With what economic tools? This is something not being talked about.

Let us organise an open debate in France on how to live up to the commitments we have made. Let us move from an obligation of means to a performance obligation. We are committed to capping our overall annual carbon footprint and reducing the cap by 6 to 7% per year. Let us have a public debate on how to do this, reconciling the effectiveness of the means that are engaged with the demand for social justice, without which the burden of adjustment will inevitably be shifted to the poorest. This debate is all the more urgent as it is at the level of the European Union and within the framework of the European Green Deal that, given the scale of intra-European trade, this transition from an obligation of means to an obligation of results must be organised,.

We call on scientists, economists and the different components of society to accept an open debate on solutions that will comply with this twofold obligation of results. We propose that the alternatives brought forth by this debate should then be the subject of a citizens’ deliberation, which in the recent Citizens’ Climate Convention showed how enthusiastically and seriously citizens can take up issues that are considered complex but which engage the future.

If you agree to sign this call, please go to

Yours sincerely,

Pierre Calame