While U.S. politicians try to keep the idea alive here, the French have announced cancellation of their version of cap-and-trade. They say it will hurt their competitiveness. Vive la France.
Moments of crisis concentrate the mind wonderfully, or at least they should. In France, as public-sector workers mount a nationwide strike and fallout continues from the ruling party’s heavy defeat in regional elections, Prime Minister Francois Fillon has indicated that his government will abandon plans to introduce a domestic carbon tax.
“We have to amplify measures that help reinforce the competitiveness of our economy,” Fillon told the Reuters news agency. But what about all those green jobs? What about saving planet Earth from imminent planetary doom? Sacre bleu!
France would have been the largest country to impose a carbon tax as part of its efforts to tackle alleged man-induced climate change. It still hopes for an EU-wide tax, which would hamper everybody’s economy. Unlike here, France prefers not to lead by example, hoping others will follow.
When the new tax was first approved by parliament last year, President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed it as a vital weapon against global warming. But it was struck down by France’s highest court just 48 hours before it was due to come into effect.
The Constitutional Council said there were too many exemptions for certain industries in the tax plan, and that a minority of consumers would bear the burden. The French too, it seems, like to pick industrial winners and losers.
While France embraces economic reality, the lemmings on this side of the pond are still headed for the economic and environmental cliff. “In the wake of health care’s passage, we have a strong case to make that this can be the next breakthrough legislative fight,” Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said in a prepared statement.
“Many senators who want to see a comprehensive energy and climate bill passed have been consumed with the drive to get health care passed.”
Kerry et al. figure that with health care reform rammed down our throats against our wishes, the time is right, before the wrath of the governed who no longer consent is felt in November, to also ram cap-and-trade down our throats.
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