The Shift Project

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The Shift Project
Named afterRedesigning the Economy to Achieve Carbon Transition
Formation1 January 2010; 13 years ago (2010-01-01)
Founded at16–18 rue de Budapest
Paris France
TypeNonprofit / Think-tank
PurposeClimate change mitigation
Key people
Jean-Marc Jancovici (président), Matthieu Auzanneau (director), Alain Grandjean, Gaël Giraud, Hervé Le Treut, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

The Shift Project (also called The Shift or TSP) is a French nonprofit created in 2010 that aims to limit both climate change and the dependency of our economy on fossil fuels.

Presentation, goals and organization[edit]

The Shift Project is a French nonprofit[1] created in January 2010 in Paris by energy-climate experts such as Jean-Marc Jancovici, Geneviève Férone-Creuzet and Michel Lepetit.[2] The organization aims to address two issues raised by the use of carbon: climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels. The Shift works as a think tank that shares ideas with economic, political, academic and voluntary actors.

The Shift Project is funded by corporate sponsors.[1] Its budget for 2017 was about 600,000 euros.[3]

The organization is led by a group of three people elected by the board of directors, which includes members of the sponsoring companies. A group of experts, called the "Expert Committee" (Comité des experts),[4] ensures the scientific validity of the work done by The Shift Project. This group of experts (in economics, finance, climate, physics, history...) includes Alain Grandjean, Gaël Giraud, Hervé Le Treut, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele and Jacques Treiner. When the think tank was created, the first director was Cédric Ringenbach. He held this position until 2016, when he left The Shift Project and created the nonprofit organization The Climate Collage, which was later renamed to The Climate Fresk.[5] Now headed by Matthieu Auzanneau, The Shift has a team of about ten employees and works with volunteers who are grouped into an independent nonprofit called The Shifters.[4]

The Shift examines the dependency of our economy on oil[6] through three angles: the potential return of economic growth,[7] the issues related to the finite amount of oil[8] and, of course, the climate change due to carbon emissions. According to The Shift, although the GDP may have use cases, it is not really useful,[9] especially because it does not consider natural resources (so it does not account for their limited availability) or resulting externalities like greenhouse gas emissions.

Projects, events and activities[edit]

Since 2012, The Shift Project has organized an annual two-day meeting called The Shift Forum[4] with the objective of running a debate between big industrial and financial company leaders and experts on climate, energy and economics. The Shift also organizes many public events,[10] sometimes in collaboration with other organizations like the Business and Climate Summit 2015[11] or the World Efficiency 2015.[12]

The nonprofit also contributed to the National Debate for Energy Transition in France[13][14] and its president, Jean-Marc Jancovici, is a member of the French Committee on Climate Change.[15]

Main publications[edit]

The Shift mostly works in task forces: for a couple of months or years, a group of experts (from higher education and academic research, NGOs, public sector, companies...) is set up on a well-defined question. When the project ends, the task force writes a report and presents it to concerned actors. The report is then made publicly available.

Addressed issues include the building rehabilitation to make them more energy-efficient,[16] the relation between energy and GDP,[17][18][19] alternative metrics to GDP,[20] the scientific rigor of energy scenarios,[21] sustainable mobility[22] or the price of carbon.[23][24]

For the price of carbon in Europe, the Shift suggests to set a reservation price to 20 euros and increase it every year.[25]

Since 2013, The Shift has been gathering experts on the energy rehabilitation of buildings and made propositions like the Energy Efficiency Passport.[26] In addition to being experimented by the Shift through the nonprofit organization Expérience P2E,[27] this building passport was then included in the Energy Transition Law and is now used by various actors in the building industry.[28]

In 2016, at The Shift Project request, the engineer Francisco Luciano gathered a team of experts including the SNCF, Vinci Autoroutes, EDF, the CVTC, start-ups in car sharing, the senior official Olivier Paul-Dubois-Taine and researchers. In September 2017, The Shift published the report "Decarbonize mid-density areas – Less carbon more bond",[29] for which The Shift and the project leader Francisco Luciano were invited by the Ministry for Transportation to attend the Mobility Foundations[30] and various governmental working groups. The report, which is aimed to be well-argued and quantitative, concludes that it is possible to strongly decarbonize mobility in suburban areas thanks to cycling, car sharing and fast public transports. The working group also studied the delivery of goods and remote work.

On 4 October 2018, the think tank published a report on the digital economy impact on climate and environment.[31] The report notes that the worldwide energy consumption of the digital economy grows at a very fast rate (about 9% a year) with a worsening energy efficiency, unlike most economic sectors. It concludes by advocating digital sobriety to minimize most of this impact growth.[32]

Pledge for climate: The 2017 Decarbonize Europe Manifesto[edit]

The call for action of the economic actors[edit]

On 21 March 2017, the think tank made public the signatories of a text called "Decarbonize Europe Manifesto". This text is described as a wake-up call 15 months after the Paris Agreement.[33] It begins with: "We, the signatories of this Manifesto to decarbonize Europe, call upon all European States to immediately implement policies aiming to achieve a level of greenhouse gas emissions close to zero by 2050!"[34] and aims to "guarantee peace".[35] It ends with: "We call upon all European actors – individuals, businesses and public authorities – to implement concrete and coherent strategies which can meet the challenge posed by climate change and the limits of natural resources." The Shift project claims the decarbonization of Europe is a challenge, but it is necessary for a modern future.

It is supported by more than 3,000 citizens including 80 company directors and around forty scientists and political figures. The press mainly mentions the signature of economic leaders like the magazine Challenges: "Climate: Why the company directors (at last) unite to decarbonize Europe".[36]

The think tank then called candidates running for president for a commitment in favor of a European plan to fight climate change that would abide by the Paris Agreement[37]

Signatories of the Manifesto[edit]

Company directors who signed the Manifesto include[38] Elisabeth Borne (RATP), Martin Bouygues (Bouygues), Patricia Barbizet (Artémis-Kering), Guillaume Pepy (SNCF), Christophe Cuvillier (Unibail Rodamco), Nicolas Dufourq (BPI France), Pierre Blayau (Caise centrale de réassurance), Stéphane Richard (Orange), Alain Montarant (MACIF), Nicolas Théry (Crédit mutuel), Denis Kessler (SCOR), Xavier Huillard (Vinci), Jean-Dominique Senard (Michelin) and Agniès Ogier (Thalys).

Scientists who signed the Manifesto include climatologists like Jean Jouzel, Hervé Le Treut and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele; the biologist and senior official Dominique Dron; the mathematician Ivar Ekeland; physicists like Sébastien Balibar, Roger Balian and Yves Bréchet; economists like Gaël Giraud, Roger Guesnerie, Philippe Aghion, Christian de Perthuis, Jean-Marie Chevalier and Jean-Charles Hourcade; directors of grandes écoles like Meriem Fournier (AgroParis-Tech Nancy), Olivier Oger (EDHEC) and Vincent Laflèche (Mines ParisTech).

Other people who signed it include former ministers like Arnaud Montebourg, Serge Lepeltier, the Belgian Philippe Maystadt and the president of the union CFE-CGC François Hommeril.

Nine proposals[edit]

The Shift Project published "9 propositions to take Europe to a new area" about as many projects that should be done imperatively to meet the Paris Agreement, according to the Shift. The AFP specifies that these propositions are made "in parallel with the Manifesto" and are not "endorsed by the signatories".[39] The daily economic newspaper Les Échos highlights the "plan for a 'carbon-free' Europe".[40]

These propositions concern seven sectors: electricity, transportation, construction, industry, food, agriculture and forestry. They are described in depth in the book "Let's decarbonize!".[41]


  1. ^ a b "Statuts de l'association The Shift Project" [The Shift Project's articles of association] (PDF). (in French). Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Michel Lepetit – Intervenant Groupe BPCE". (in French). Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Rapport du Commissaire aux Comptes pour l'année 2017" [The Auditor's Report for 2017] (PDF). (in French). 5 June 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b c ""Le think-tank de la transition carbone" (Plaquette de présentation)" ["The think-tank for carbon transition" (Presentation flyer)] (PDF). (in French). Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  5. ^ Raux, Aude (May–June 2020). "La Fresque du Climat : jouer pour comprendre". Kaizen Magazine (in French). Vol. 50. pp. 62–66. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  6. ^ Vittorio de Filippis (8 May 2015). "Matthieu Auzanneau : "Le pétrole a été le lait maternel de Wall Street"" [Matthieu Auzanneau: "Oil was Wall Street's breast milk"]. Libé (in French).
  7. ^ Isabelle Hennebelle (1 June 2015). "On ne sait pas faire de croissance sans une énergie abondante" [We are not able to maintain economic growth without abundant energy]. L'Express (in French).
  8. ^ Jean-Denis Renard (17 May 2015). "Énergie : la fin du pétrole est en vue" [Energy: The end of oil is within sight]. Sud Ouest (in French).
  9. ^ "Rapport | Les usages du PIB" [Report | The uses of GDP] (PDF). (in French). Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  10. ^ Vincent Rondreux (February 2015). "Bulle carbone et 'stranded assets': une affaire à 28 000 milliards de dollars..." [Carbon bubble and "stranded assets": a 28,000-billion-dollar case...]. Sortirdupé (in French).
  12. ^ Dorothée Laperche (3 December 2014). "Le salon World Efficiency va impulser une culture du changement" [The World Efficiency exhibition will stimulate a culture of change]. (in French).
  13. ^ Véronique Pappe (8 July 2013). "Le think-tank "The Shift Project" soumet son rapport sur la rénovation thermique du bâtiment au secrétariat du DNTE" [The think-tank "The Shift Project" submits its report about the thermal rehabilitation of buildings to the secretariat of DNTE]. Construction21 (in French).
  14. ^ "L'évaluation économique des scénarios énergétiques" [The economic evaluation of energy scenarios] (PDF). (in French). 2013.
  15. ^ Pierre Le Hir, Audrey Garric et Cédric Pietralunga (27 November 2018). "Climat : un Haut Conseil pour orienter le gouvernement" [Climate: a Committee to assist the government]. Le (in French). Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  16. ^ Frédérique Vergne (2 October 2014). "Passeport pour l'efficacité énergétique : " The Shift Project " passe à l'action" [Energy Efficiency Passport: The Shift Project takes action]. Le Moniteur (in French).
  17. ^ Matthieu Auzanneau (19 April 2014). "Gaël Giraud, du CNRS : " Le vrai rôle de l'énergie va obliger les économistes à changer de dogme "" [Gaël Giraud, from CNRS: "The real role of energy will force economists to move to another dogma"]. OIL MAN, Chroniques du Début de la Fin du Pétrole (Blog (in French).
  18. ^ Gaël Giraud (24 September 2014). "Pourquoi la transition énergétique est nécessaire pour l'économie (Tribune)" [Why the energy transition is required for the economy (Gallery)]. Challenges (in French).
  19. ^ Giraud, Gaël; Kahraman, Zeynep (December 2014). "How Dependent is Growth from Primary Energy? The Dependency ratio of Energy in 33 Countries (1970–2011)". (in French). Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  20. ^ Dominique Pialot (21 May 2013). "Comment se passer d'un indicateur comme le PIB ?" [How to do without the GDP metric?]. La Tribune (in French).
  21. ^ "Interdisciplinary energy prospective: towards a common toolbox for scenario assessment and design?". (in French). 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  22. ^ Vincent Rondreux (26 June 2014). "Quelle transition pour la mobilité au quotidien ?" [Which transition for daily-life mobility?]. Sortirdupé (in French).
  23. ^ Annick Masounave (18 June 2015). "Le juste prix" [The right price]. L'Agefi (in French).
  24. ^ Marie Théobald (27 May 2015). "Prix du carbone : quels sont les enjeux ?" [Carbon price: What are the challenges?]. Le Figaro (in French).
  25. ^ "Un prix plancher sur les quotas carbone pour ne pas brader le climat" [A reservation price for carbon quotas to avoid the selling out of climate]. (in French). 6 April 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  26. ^ Frédérique Vergne (2 October 2014). "Passeport pour l'efficacité énergétique : " The Shift Project " passe à l'action" [Energy Efficiency Passport: The Shift Project takes action]. Le Moniteur (in French). Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  27. ^ Frédérique Vergne (7 September 2016). "La nouvelle association Expérience P2E expérimente le passeport efficacité énergétique" [The new organization Expérience P2E tries the Energy Efficiency Passport]. Le Moniteur (in French). Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  28. ^ "Direct Energie va expérimenter le Passeport de rénovation énergétique" [Direct Energie will try the Energy Efficiency Passport]. Batiactu (in French). 23 August 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  29. ^ "Le défi de la desserte des zones périurbaines dans un monde décarboné" [The challenge of serving suburban areas in a decarbonized world]. Mobilicités (in French). Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  30. ^ "Assises de la mobilité : le covoiturage et le vélo permettraient de réduire les émissions de CO2 de 60%" [Mobility Foundations: car sharing and cycling would allow us to shrink carbon emissions by 60%]. (in French). Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  31. ^ "For a digital sobriety": the new report by the Shift about the environmental impact of digital technology, The Shift Project, 4 octobre 2018.
  32. ^ Benoît Georges (4 October 2018). "La transition numérique, un risque écologique" [The digital transition, an ecological risk]. Les Échos (in French). France..
  33. ^ Irène Inchauspé (21 March 2017). "Ces patrons qui veulent décarboner l'Europe" [These company directors who want to decarbonize Europe] (in French). L'Opinion.
  34. ^ "Le Manifeste pour décarboner l'Europe" [Decarbonize Europe Manifesto] (in French).
  35. ^ "L'appel de patrons pour "décarboner l'Europe"" [The call from company directors to "decarbonize Europe"] (in French). Le avec AFP. 21 March 2017.
  36. ^ Thuy-Diep Nguyen (21 March 2017). "Climat : Pourquoi les patrons s'unissent (enfin) pour décarboner l'Europe" [Climate: Why the company directors (at last) unite to decarbonize Europe] (in French). Challenges.
  37. ^ "Lettre d'Emmanuel Macron à The Shift Project" [Letter from Emmanuel Macron to The Shift Project] (PDF). (in French). 12 April 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  38. ^ Ana Lutzky (21 March 2017). "The Shift Project adresse aux présidentiables son "manifeste pour décarboner l'Europe", signé par de grandes sociétés" [The Shift Project address its "decarbonize Europe manifesto" to potential presidential candidates, signed by big companies] (in French). AEF.
  40. ^ Benoit Georges (21 March 2017). "Un plan pour une Europe " zéro carbone "" [A plan for a "carbon-free" Europe]. Les Echos (in French).
  41. ^ Zeynep Kahraman; André-Jean Guérin; Jean-Marc Jancovici (2017). Décarbonons !: 9 propositions pour que l'Europe change d'ère [Let's decarbonize! 9 propositions to take Europe to a new area] (in French). Paris: Odile Jacob.

External links[edit]