Mass riots against fuel price hikes opened the eyes of leaders that non-climate issues such as poverty and fairness in carbon taxes must come first.
Last Saturday, the streets of Paris were much like today’s global weather: chaotic. Protesters were angry over hikes in fuel prices imposed by a government they deemed out of touch with the high cost of driving and other living expenses. The riots forced President Emmanuel Macron to suspend taxes on diesel and gasoline due to start in January. His plan to turn France into a world leader on climate change is now on hold.
One lesson from the protests is this: Achieving a level of climate harmony through government intervention will require social harmony as well. As much as people accept dire predictions about global warming, they also want equitable allocation of the costs in curbing carbon pollution. Will there be mutual sacrifice in reducing coal and oil usage? Will money from carbon taxes go to help the poor cope with the higher costs? Will the revenue also help develop zero-carbon solutions?
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