Last year, when President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, French President Macron, in English, lectured Mr. Trump: “There is no Plan B because there is no Planet B.”
Well, the last three weeks of less-than-harmonious demonstrations by the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) have been so trying for Mr. Macron that he apparently has found that there is after all a Plan B. On Tuesday, the French president, after first promising a pause in the fuel tax increase, announced, “the tax is now abandoned.” As the WSJ points out, most likely Mr. Macron feels the tax is not worth kneecapping the economy or sacrificing his political career.
The French President views stopping climate change as a grand legacy project, and he had hoped to use higher fuel taxes to discourage driving for the sake of slashing carbon emissions. It didn’t matter to him that French emissions already are very low on a per capita basis and further cuts to transport emissions would be extremely difficult to achieve. But this matters a great deal to lower-income rural voters whose use of cars for daily life and business was about to become much more expensive.
President Trump Tried to Warn Macron
“No responsible leader can put the workers—and the people—of their country at this debilitating and tremendous disadvantage,” warned Mr. Trump of the costs of the Paris climate deal.
The Rural Public Understands the Consequences of Climate Change
The Gilets Jaunes have no formal leadership, but one of the group’s self-proclaimed spokesmen, when asked if Macron’s concession is enough to cancel a protest set to take place in Paris this coming Saturday, suggests that the protesters will continue to demand more.
“I think it comes much too late,” Jacline Mouraud told the Associated Press.