By Michael Lewis
“France today abandoned all plans to introduce a carbon fuel tax aimed at combating global warming,” the Daily Mail reports. The article continues:
The policy u-turn will be viewed as a huge disappointment to the green lobby around the world.
Many had hoped that if a major western economy like France took the lead in taxing harmful emissions, then other countries would follow suit.
But the scrapping of the tax plan was announced by Prime Minister Francois Fillon who said it could only be introduced across Europe so as to ‘avoid harming the competitiveness of French companies.’
He told a meeting of MPs in Parliament that the priority for the country was getting its stagnating economy working again following the international financial crisis.
Last year President Nicolas Sarkozy said a tax on the use of oil, gas and coal would make his country one of the greenest in the world.
It was provisionally set at pounds 15 per per tonne of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2), and would apply to homes as well as businesses.
Mr Sarkozy said money from the new tax - which would amount to some pounds 4billion a year - would be spent on green initiatives.
But there was stiff opposition from across the political spectrum, with critics saying the tax was just a ploy to boost ailing state finances.
In polls, two-thirds of French voters said they were opposed to the new levy, fearing they would struggle to pay higher bills. The government was forced to amend its proposals after they were rejected by the high court in December.
France has 44.4 million registered voters, and polls indicate that two-thirds are opposed to carbon taxes. Can 30 million Frenchmen (and women) be wrong?
The article concludes by noting that, “Mr Fillon told the meeting of MPs today that the government’s priorities were now ‘growth, jobs, competitiveness and fighting deficits’.” Now, if we could only get Sens. Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman to smell the coffee! They too would drop their proposal for “linked fees” (i.e. carbon taxes) like yesterday’s french fries.