The Paris Accord (2015) Has Been Torched by the Paris Discord (2018)

Gary North (, December 05, 2018

Reality Check

The United Nations is holding a conference on climate change in Poland for three weeks.

The rioters in Paris held their own conference over the last three weeks. They got what they wanted. The bureaucrats in Poland are not going to get anything they want.

France’s president Macron is a phony. He used to be a banker. He travels in the circles of the world’s elite. He campaigned as a populist.

He came out of nowhere to win the election. He had no program. He was all rhetoric. As they say in Texas, he was all hat and no cattle.

Of all major national leaders, he is the most vociferous proponent of green energy. He is basically Al Gore with a French accent.

He faced a problem. How was he going to impose the green revolution on the people of France? He had to make them pay. That’s what the green movement is all about: higher energy prices. These higher prices will affect the masses far more than they affect the rich. But they do not want to say this. So, they hide behind rhetoric.

When push came to shove, he hiked diesel taxes on the common people of France. He taxed where they could not escape: diesel fuel. We hear a lot about France’s use of solar energy, but diesel fuel is the main source of power to transport Frenchmen from one place to another.

A vociferous minority of revolutionaries took to the streets. This was comeuppance for Macron. He became famous for his book, Revolution. Now he is getting what he asked for. He is getting it good and hard.

He has backed down. The government is going to remove the tax for six months. He is trying to de-fuse the revolution. He would not admit this defeat in public. He had a lower-level politician make the announcement. He did not have the guts to stand up in front of the people of France and admit that organized revolutionaries had called his bluff.

This all took place on the 50th anniversary of that other revolutionary movement that disrupted French life. Back then, Charles de Gaulle was President. In May, riots in Paris disrupted the city. They began to shut down the economy. De Gaulle actually fled the country briefly. But he returned, announced new elections, and the riots ended almost overnight. In June, the month after the riots began, his party won an overwhelming political victory. That was the end of the riots.

I think that Macron should have called an election. I think he would have won. His popularity had fallen to about 26% in November. But the riots would have favored his party, had he held firm. He did not hold firm. He wimped out.

Revolutionary violence is wrong. Three people have died as a result of these riots. The rioters have defaced property all over France. They attacked private businesses. These people are hooligans. Napoleon would have known what to do with them. Macron did not.

All this is beautifully timed. There is a meeting in Poland of bureaucrats representing signatories of the Paris Accords of 2015 on “climate change.” They are gathering to set forth the rules governing the Paris Accords. These Accords have no binding authority on any of the nations. The meeting was a public relations stunt. The UN has announced this.

During the course of the two-week Conference, 31,000 people will participate in some fashion, including 14,500 delegates, 7,000 NGOs, and close to 1,700 media. Not all will be here at the same time, but the space is huge and walking the site from end to end is close to a kilometer.

The politicians and bureaucrats of the UN did not expect the timing to be so poor with respect to French politics. The best-laid plans. . . .

Reuters nails it.

The timing of the tax U-turn is uncomfortable for Macron. It comes as governments meet in Poland to try to agree measures to avert the most damaging consequences of global warming, an issue Macron has made a central part of his agenda. His carbon taxes were designed to address the issue.

But the scale of the protests against his policies made it almost impossible to plow ahead as he had hoped.

I think it is magnificently ironic that the Paris Accords of 2015 have produced the Paris discords of 2018. Revolutionaries and rioters in France have sent a message to the bureaucrats meeting in Poland. The message is clear: issue all the rules and regulations you want, but don’t expect the common people to cut their lifestyles in order to meet the standards. The people are not going to do it.

Politicians around the world have seen what has happened to their most articulate political representative: Emanuel Macron. I don’t think many of them are going to want to face this kind of music back home. Rhetoric is great; taxes are dangerous. We read this:

Asked about the recent protests in France, one of which turned into a riot in Paris on Saturday, [Dutch Prime Minister] Rutte said politicians must work to get all of society to back the measures needed to tackle climate change.

“That means talking, talking, talking,” he said. “With all societal organizations, politicians, all citizens being involved if they want to.”

Talk is cheap. Getting voters to submit to a reduced lifestyle is not cheap.

United Nations has done nothing but talk ever since the end of the Korean War in 1953. It spends money, and it talks. That is the extent of its clout.

I think the Left is scared silly. The Washington Post senses the change. Headline: France’s protesters are part of a global backlash against climate-change taxes.

Macron is hardly alone in his frustration. Leaders in the United States, Canada, Australia and elsewhere have found their carbon pricing efforts running into fierce opposition. But the French reversal was particularly disheartening for climate-policy experts, because it came just as delegates from around the world were gathering in Katowice, Poland, for a major conference designed to advance climate measures.

“Like everywhere else, the question in France is how to find a way of combining ecology and equality,” said Bruno Cautrès, a researcher at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. “Citizens mostly see punitive public policies when it comes to the environment: taxes, more taxes and more taxes after that. No one has the solution, and we can only see the disaster that’s just occurred in France on this question.”

The global warming movement is dead. The rioters in Paris erected its tombstone.

Paris Accord
December 2015 – December 2018

Copyright © Christian Family Study Centre