Because riots disrupted the French economy, yesterday French President Emmanuel Macron suspended his planned increases on fuel taxes for at least six months.
His announcement occurred even though at the United Nations’ weekend climate summit in the Polish mining town of Katowice, global warming activists on the radical political left warned that unless the world changes the end is near.
“This reality is telling us that we need to do much more … Climate change impacts have never been worse,” said U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa Sunday.
Joined by former U.N. climate summit presidents, they said: “We require deep transformations of our economics and societies.”
Meaning they want to impose huge global taxes on carbon and CO2 — on gasoline.
“A failure to act will be catastrophic,” said the climate activists. “The impacts of climate change are increasingly hard to ignore. A failure to act now risks pushing us beyond a point of no return with catastrophic consequences for life as we know it,” said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States of the U.N. talks.
“The U.N. climate summit may show us if there will be any domino effect” following the U.S. withdrawal, said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris deal, noting that Brazil’s strongman president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, for one, has promised to follow the American lead during his campaign.
But in Paris where the climate accord was signed in late 2015 by the Obama administration from which United States President Donald Trump withdrew America from the pact, the French were rioting — again.
So Mr. Macron suspended his fuel taxes.
Tens of thousands of protesters called “gilets jaunes” or “yellow jackets” because of reflective safety coats French drivers are required by law to keep in their vehicles, rioted in Paris and other cities and towns in France and Belgium.
The protests, in which three people have died, began Nov. 17 over Mr. Macron’s proposal to raise the gasoline tax. They then morphed into protests against living conditions and reforms that cut taxes on corporations as Mr. Macron adopted pro-business policies to boost France’s competitiveness in the global economy, making it easier for employers to hire and fire.
The Washington Times quoted the French Interior Ministry saying protesters Saturday were about 140,000, down from more than 280,000 in mid-November. Now joined by French paramedics and students, hundreds have been injured and damage in Paris is more than $4 million to the Arc de Triomphe and avenues off the Champs Elysees.
Announcing Mr. Macron’s decision, Reuters News said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said anyone would have “to be deaf or blind” not to see or hear the roiling anger on the streets over a policy that Mr. Macron has defended as critical to combating climate change.
“The French who have donned yellow vests want taxes to drop and workers to pay. That’s also what we want,” said Mr. Philippe. “If I didn’t manage to explain it, if the ruling majority didn’t manage to convince the French then something must change. No tax is worth jeopardizing the unity of the nation.
“If the events of recent days have shown us one thing, it’s that the French want neither an increases in taxes or new taxes. If the tax take falls, then spending must fall because we don’t want to pass our debts on to our children. And those debts are already sizeable,” he continued.
Writing about “The Global Carbon Tax Revolt,” The Wall Street Journal said “protesters in Paris will be expected to pay much of the up to €8 billion annual tab for the minuscule global benefit,” which Mr. Macron projected his levies would raise. “This is preposterous,” said the Journal, “in an economy that still has an 8.9% jobless rate (21.5% for the young) and will struggle to hit 2% annual growth. Yellow vests from less prosperous rural areas, who depend on cars for daily life, know it. They’re insulted when Mr. Macron tells them to wait for better public transport or to carpool. They also assume that Paris will waste a fuel tax windfall on boondoggles such as unreliable renewable power to replace zero emissions nuclear plants.”
As we have said, the Journal noted that last month voters in Washington state rejected a carbon tax, that Ontario province in Canada is suing to block a federal carbon tax which might upend the Alberta government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and in Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel’s transition to renewable energy has become a political liability, increasing dirty coal emissions and causing household energy costs to soar.
Fossil fuels are responsible for the global economy’s record growth, giving millions of poverty stricken people wealth. While global warming activists exaggerated the impact of global warming for selfish reasons, a tax on carbon and CO2 would increase energy costs and slow economic activity. Which is precisely what residents in Third World countries and those desiring one world global government want.
A tax on CO2 would be economic warfare on business. Only a fool would believe government could control temperature, sea level or storm activity.