Purchase power: Doubling down on fossil fuels?

Purchase power: Doubling down on fossil fuels?

Jul 20, 2022
We are wasting money on preserving the status quo of fossil fuels instead of investing in a sustainable future.
Volt France - Tribune - Pouvoir d'achat

> The government is considering freezing electricity and gas prices to maintain purchasing power.

> We are wasting money on preserving the status quo of fossil fuels instead of investing in a sustainable future.

> Volt proposes free public transport, the right to work from home and a bonus for reducing energy consumption.

Volt France - Livre blanc - L'élan européen - Sven Franck

Sven Franck

Co-president of Volt France

The National Assembly is debating the draft law for purchasing power, looking for a compromise that can win a majority to relieve the pressure of inflation. Why were 1100 amendments submitted, with more than half deemed admissible, instead of trying to work together to find a compromise? Volt is challenging the discussion on specific proposals, notably regarding the stabilisation of energy and petrol prices against the main objectives of our societies: the transition to renewable energy and the reduction of our energy consumption. 

Less kilometers on the road

Germany has launched an initiative that offers free use of all public transport and regional trains for €9 per month. As a result, 21 million tickets were sold in the first month, even contributing to a reduction in month-on-month inflation as citizens turned to public transport instead of using their cars. Discussions are underway to determine how to make this offer sustainable or develop it further and encourage users to systematically use public transport. Volt France proposes to pursue a similar strategy. TERs are already heavily subsidised (70% publicly funded). We therefore propose to introduce a similar offer for regional trains as for all public transport, for example by taking over the remaining 50% of the compulsory public transport costs for employers. For people who depend on their car to get to work, compensation for the kilometres travelled between home and work could also be introduced. This would make it possible to collect information on journeys and routes taken and to assess the feasibility of alternative public transport solutions. Finally, a general right to work from home would also reduce the need for car travel and even office space. But instead of investing in a sustainable future while our forests burn, the National Assembly is talking about subsidising fossil fuel prices, thus exacerbating and administering the 6th extinction, rather than trying to mitigate its effects.

Winter is coming

As the war in Ukraine drags on, our governments are slowly realising that gas supplies will be used to drive a wedge between European countries. We have already squandered months of preparation while our government congratulates itself on keeping inflation at 5%, while energy prices are doubling or tripling in other countries. But as with gas prices, we are wasting money on preserving the status quo rather than investing in the future. According to the Brown to Green report, building insulation is one of our Achilles' heels and our government is not doing enough to accelerate the rate of renovation of the existing building stock, nor to encourage households to reduce their energy consumption. Our government aims to renovate 700,000 homes per year over the next five years. If we continue at this rate, it will take 50 years to renovate our housing stock. Volt France proposes to significantly increase the funding of Ma Prime Renov for low-income households as well as our renovation capacities to develop this future economic market. As an immediate measure to increase purchasing power, we propose to introduce an energy reduction premium, which will pay households for their electricity savings in kilowatt-hours with a premium equivalent to the current price of electricity. This means that a household reducing its monthly energy consumption by 100 kwh (and saving €17.40 at the current price) would receive an additional €17.40 as an electricity saving premium.

We will not change our habits by keeping prices artificially frozen and we will not have the financial means to fight climate change if we spend our resources on subsidising fossil fuels. 

Our measures - subsidising public transport and working to reduce the number of kilometres travelled to and from work, as well as a bonus for energy saved - will support purchasing power by rewarding a reduction in fossil fuel and energy use in general. These measures should be offset by the introduction of a windfall profit tax on energy suppliers who generate excessive profits in the current situation at the expense of consumers.

Sources

  • (en) Wikipédia - Transport express régional (TER) (link)
  • (de) Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen - 21 million €9 tickets sold, June 2022, (link)
  • (de) Statistisches Bundesamt - Inflation rate falls slightly to +7.6% in June 2022, June 2022, (link)
  • (de) Statistisches Bundesamt - 42% increase in the use of public transport thanks to the €9 ticket, July 2022, (link)
  • (en) Brown to Green report 2021 - France (link)
  • BFM - Emmanuel Macron aims to renovate 700,000 homes per year with MaPrimeRenov if re-elected, by Ludovic Marin, March 2022 (link)
  • Insee - 37.2 million residences in France on 1 January 2021, by Camille Freppel, November 2021 (link)
  • MaPrimeRénov’ (link)

About Volt

As the first truly pan-European party, Volt is committed to reforming the European Union and responding to today's challenges in a coordinated way at European level. Volt's vision: a progressive Europe with an inclusive society, a climate-friendly economy, an adaptable education system and self-determined digitalisation.

Volt is convinced that only the democratic participation of all European citizens will prepare us for a sustainable, economically strong and socially just future. This is why Volt acts at all levels - from local to European, as a movement and as a party. The movement gives everyone a voice and the opportunity to engage politically from within society. Today, Volt is present all over Europe: thousands of people of all ages and professions are involved in 30 European countries with teams in hundreds of cities.

Contact

Sven Franck - Co-President of Volt France
Mail : sven.franck@volteuropa.org 

Eric Galera - Responsibly for Press and media relations
Mail : eric.galera@volteuropa.org 

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