Nicolas Hulot he does not abandon his expression between reflective, grave and dreamy or in the lightest question, to break the ice, about his popularity. He has just taken a walk in Valencia and this French environmental leader has not stopped greeting his compatriots and French-speaking people who were approaching him. "The sympathy towards my person is really towards the combat that I book. Or, perhaps, to the approach I give him, because he is not dogmatic, "he replies, minutes before giving a conference on climate change organized a couple of weeks ago by the French Institute in Museu de les Ciències.
And what kind of combat does the 63-year-old French journalist and photographer, who, until his resignation at the end of August, was the star minister of the Government of Emmanuel Macron? "It's a battle I've been fighting for more than 30 years and that has evolved in its dimension. In the beginning, it was an environmental commitment and today it is a humanistic challenge. I fight with others after others and before others to preserve the conditions of existence of humanity. "
And can that fight still be won? Hulot remains pensive: "If I thought that it is already lost, I would resign. But I think the deadline to win the war is too short. We have already lost a part of it, no matter where we live. When millions of people have to travel due to climatic causes, it means that we have lost or when we lose so many species of biodiversity. At present we can only act on the extent of the tragedy. "
"For 30 years we have only made progress in raising awareness of climate change"
He tried to act as Minister of Ecological Transition but he lasted a little over a year. It has been published that the pressure of lobby of the hunters was one of the reasons. "It would be to give them too much importance. The crossroads of all lobbies, very influential, energy, agri-food, health, yes had an impact on the establishment of the ecological transition. And to face such power requires a shared coordination and will. As long as there is not a global will of a government, a single minister will not be able to implement this mutation, which is vertical, not horizontal. I was the number two of the Government but I had no authority over my colleagues, about the Minister of Economy, of Agriculture, of Health ... It is true that there was a meeting in the Elysee with hunters that did not go well, but it was only the droplet that filled the glass ".
Did he feel used, cheated, by politicians? "No," says the activist who won great popularity three decades ago thanks to the television series. Ushuaïa, germ of the later environmental foundation that bears his name. "I did not have the same reading of the urgency, of the depth of the transformation and also because this government, like others, is a prisoner of the short term. To face a universal challenge you have to have a synchronization with the other countries. And Europe acts as a brake by the rule of unanimity. That's why the upcoming European elections are crucial. "
"The Government of Macron, like others, is a prisoner of the short term"
Hulot avoids pointing to any specific political option and expresses its confidence that the environmental agenda is finally transversal. But are politicians really taking the problem of climate change seriously? "The answer is neither yes nor no. They know that there is a real danger, because science diagnosed it and because reality shows it to us daily, but in some way they hope that technology will find the solution and that science has been wrong. The situation is very complex. With what economic model is the existing model replaced? For most politicians growth is a kind of medicine and unfortunately growth has caused all ecological disorders. You also have to have the humility to recognize that it is not obvious to create a new model that creates wealth without exhausting resources. It is important to emphasize that we are not in a simplistic analysis, but at a crossroads of complexities. We have to combine arriving at the end of the month with the end of the world. "
Hulot, father of three children, bets on the influence of feminist revolution current in the ecological. "Many times the female sensibility is more steeped in respect for life. The history of ecology has important women that allowed the cause to evolve. In my foundation, 80% of the workers are women. "
And he also trusts the new generations that are leading a global movement against climate change: "But you have to answer them right away. Do not expect the peaceful signals to become aggressive signals, as happened with the yellow vests. If we had more time, I would be more optimistic, because our modern world has gone too far in excess. For 30 years we have only advanced in the awareness but nothing in the treatment of the problem. And scientists remind us that everything will be determined in the years to come. "
Nicolas Hulot considers it essential that there be a "positive motivation" among the parties that appear in the "crucial" European elections on May 26. "And above all that there is a consensus on the five or six fundamental tools that allow us to enter the ecological transition".
In a succinct way, he explains some of them: "It will be necessary to find versions immediately based on energy efficiency, on the transition to renewable energies and on the storage of these. For this, it will be necessary to take necessary investments based on the Maastricht criteria, not to consider that these greenhouses participate in the debt. Europe has to be a bit transgressive. " "In addition," you have to find new financing, financial rates, for example. You have to have common fiscal rules to avoid the so-called fiscal optimization. Share a vision about agricultural policy. And that Europe stops signing free trade agreements with countries that do not respect the Paris agreements. "