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Preening Macron is learning to his cost that you can’t save the planet on the back of the poor

December 5, 2018

By Paul Homewood


A nice, concise piece by Ross Clark (at least until the final paragraph!)



What a wonderful irony that, as the world’s great and good gathered in Poland on Monday to discuss climate change, the city where they met for the same purpose just three years ago was aflame – set alight by protesters aggrieved by President Macron’s efforts to meet his carbon-reduction targets.

I am not going to defend the activities of the so-called gilets jaunes, who are the latest manifestation of France’s over-enthusiasm for insurrection, which dates back to at least 1789. Yet they stand as a warning to any government which attempts to tackle climate change by making people poorer. They are not going to stand for it – especially when they can see it is ordinary folk who are paying the price for cutting carbon emissions while the wealthy either carry on regardless or profit from public subsidies for green energy.

Yesterday, Macron suspended his sharp rise in diesel taxes. Yet his behaviour over the past fortnight embodies what is wrong with the attitude of so many world leaders towards climate change. First, he ignored the protests of those whose livelihoods have been compromised by fuel taxes, many of whom live in rural areas and have little choice other than to rely on fossil fuel-powered road vehicles. Then he berated them for their un-eco choices. Meanwhile, his own carbon footprint swelled like that of a gourmand with gout as he jetted off around the world to attend summits and sumptuous dinners with other world leaders. Mr Macron is very good at lecturing the rest of us on what we need to do to save the planet, but his own lifestyle seems to be exempt from scrutiny.

When world leaders gather at climate summits they love to issue communiques saying that they are out to help the world’s poor – making out it is they who will suffer most from climate change if nothing is done. But it is not just the gilets jaunes who can see that the opposite is true: it is the efforts to tackle climate change which are harming the poor – while filling the pockets of the wealthy.

For the less well-off in developed nations, the battle against climate change promises fuel poverty, and the loss of personal transportation as petrol and diesel vehicles are priced off the road before being banned altogether. It means huddling in cold homes – according to Ofgem, environmental and social levies will add nearly 10 per cent to fuel bills this year.

For the better-off, on the other hand, it means a feast of subsidies. Here in Britain, for example, taxpayers will stump up £3,500 towards your new 150 mph Tesla (you even get the subsidy if it is your second or third car). If you have the capital to install an eco heating system in your mansion, under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) you can claim £10,000 a year or more in public cash to run it– the Northern Irish version of RHI, which helped bring down the Stormont assembly, was so generous that it led to stories of farmers heating their barns, and leaving the doors wide open so that they could maximise the payments. If you own land you could be pocketing £350,000 a year in wind farm subsidies – that was the sum earned by Sir Reginald Sheffield in 2011 while his son-in-law, David Cameron, was hugging huskies and hiking the fuel bills of ordinary people in order to pay for the handouts.

The same iniquity is visible on a global scale. For poor countries, carbon-reduction targets mean being deprived of the cheap energy which enabled industrial revolutions in Europe and North America. With lower economic growth, efforts to adapt to such things as rising sea levels will be compromised.

For wealthy countries it means opportunities to cash in on such things as trading carbon credits – Gordon Brown openly boasted of how carbon-trading would bring jobs and wealth to the City. Al Gore has made a fortune lecturing the world on why it needs to adopt green energy – while running a parallel career setting up investment funds to cash in on it.

None of this means, of course, that climate change is not a problem and that nothing should be done about it. But governments are going to have to find ways of cutting carbon emissions which do not involve making the poor poorer and the rich richer. If they cannot, the gilets jaunes will prove to be just the tip of an enormous iceberg – and one which won’t be melting.

  1. Dave Ward permalink
    December 5, 2018 6:33 pm

    It would be nice if, just once, somebody spouting off about “Cutting carbon emissions” realised that there’s a difference between Carbon & Carbon Dioxide…

    • Broadlands permalink
      December 5, 2018 7:33 pm

      Indeed.. When carbon is oxidized it gains the weight of two added oxygens. This increases the already huge problem of capturing the tons of oxidized carbon and trying to find a place to safely put it back where it came from as carbon. Impossible goals foisted on the public in the name of climate change.

  2. December 5, 2018 7:07 pm

    A 6-month delay may just be a standard tactic of politicians, since public anger seldom remains focused for long on any single topic. This is similar to the repeat referendum when the voters give the wrong answer first time around.

    Tobacco tax works because people have two viable options, not so if you live in the sticks and rely on petrol/diesel to survive.

  3. RAH permalink
    December 5, 2018 7:10 pm

    The image of Macron lecturing the Saudi Crown Prince at the G20 while back at home his country is ripping apart at the seams was so typical of these types. Macron, May, Merkle all of the same mold it seems and all failing.

  4. December 5, 2018 7:44 pm

    The situation in France seems to be far worse than the UK media are telling us. See Geoff Chambers account here:

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 5, 2018 9:28 pm

    Let’s not forget the ~2000 UK fuel protests – that effectively killed off the duty escalator/versions of it (which was a carbon tax/environmental levy).

    But it didn’t lead to anything more. And compare the price of fuel then and now! Why no new protests? I suppose because the UK economy is doing relatively well and people can live with the pain for now.

    • HotScot permalink
      December 5, 2018 10:54 pm


      The UK is girding it’s loins for the outcome of May’s Brexit fiasco.

      Everything is secondary at the moment until the decision is made to either exit the EU with no deal or risk a revolt by announcing a second referendum.

      For many reasons other than my desire to leave the EU lock stock and barrel, I hope our government makes the right decision, to leave with the only satisfactory option now available, no deal.

      Sorry to go OT Paul, but I have been here before. I was a cop during the miners strike. Rightly or wrongly, Thatcher had the sense to ensure the Police were well paid, well provisioned and fully manned prior to embarking on a risky strategy. We had no idea why the entire Scottish Police force was sent on training courses to use riot shields; until the confrontation between Thatcher and Scargill began.

      But that was merely a match up between political rivals with only tens of thousands of activist miners as support for Scargill. The current match up is between government and voters, over 17 million of them. And if only a small percentage of those voters take to the street it will make the miners strike look like a Sunday school gathering.

      The Police have neither the manpower nor the infrastructure to handle mass demonstrations. They have been hollowed out, emaciated by years of government cuts, and now the government risks the price of that folly.

      The Police couldn’t contain the Tottenham riots, they even called in reinforcements from Police Scotland, yet within a week or so of rioting by a few hundred people, the area was decimated. Properties torched, Police cars alight and people injured.

      If May screws up Brexit, there will be serious consequences, if for nothing else, her betrayal of democracy. The Army will be called in to ensure civil obedience and nothing could be more undemocratic than that.

      IMHO the UK is staring into the abyss of an uncertain future of government oppression and, without wanting to seem overly dramatic, a descent into nationwide anarchy is a very real risk.

      Without anything like the provocation the UK is facing, the French have taken to the streets over fuel prices.

      The Brexit issue is much more serious than I believe many think it is.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        December 5, 2018 11:27 pm

        I don’t disagree with much of that, but having made the mistake once, I’ve decided to stay off ‘that’ topic on here – too explosive!

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 5, 2018 11:32 pm

    Here’s a question people – what are your favorite filthy denier skeptic books, those that you think are most insightful, honest, witty, scientific, succinct, likely to turn a warmist (asking the impossible!) etc.? If you could buy only 3, what would they be.

    • HotScot permalink
      December 6, 2018 1:52 am


      Noddy, Trumpton and Postman Pat.

      It’s about as intellectual as they get and a damn site more intellectual than Gore’s ever likely to create. 🙂

    • RAH permalink
      December 6, 2018 2:46 am

      Because most believers lack basic knowledge of natural sciences in the first place my favorite publication to start them on is:

      I bought five copies and now have one left.

    • December 6, 2018 10:03 am

      The Hockey Stick Illusion by Andrew Montfort is a cracking good read, and The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall is an excellent explanation of the historical background to how and why so many people came to believe/promote the Hockey Stick.

    • December 6, 2018 12:32 pm

      I will list three. The Andrew Montfort book has already been named.

      My other 2 are “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years” by S. Fred Singer, & Dennis T. Avery (2007). I had a delightful chat with Dennis Avery at a forum on climate change held by my Congressman who is chairman of the House Energy Committee (he likes coal). Avery is an agricultural historian/archaeologist.

      Then Mark Steyn’s “A Disgrace to the Profession”–The World’s Scientists in their own words–on Michael E. Mann, his Hockey Stick and their damage to science. The Steyn book (2015) is a compendium of what these folks from around the world actually said and wrote–many are not all that skeptical of warming, but of Michael Mann. Mann has been suing Mark Steyn in DC Court for now 6 years for defaming him. I think Mann does an excellent job of defaming himself and needs no assistance.

      Steyn’s book is heavily footnoted with original sources for the statements. My copy is underlined, notes and stars in the margins and notes on the inside of both covers w/ page #’s for pertinent statements. There are also pieces of paper and paper clips marking particular pages. This is to say, I found it extremely valuable. The Singer/Avery book is based on scientific data from ice cores, soils, and various other tags for warming/cooling. They have the goods.

    • A Man of No Rank permalink
      December 6, 2018 4:22 pm

      Mr. GrimNasty, a great idea, so much good stuff to read..
      My favourite authors on this Global Warming scam are Christopher Booker (of course), Rupert Darwall, Tim Ball, Joanne Nova, Erl Happ and Ian Plimer.
      From my point of view Ian Plimmer’s ‘Climate change delusion and the great electricity rip-off’ wins. Are all Geologists so knowledgeable, numerate and frank?

  7. Ian Cook permalink
    December 6, 2018 8:34 am

    Interesting headline. I have been thinking recently that so much activity by governments is aimed at the poor. Whilst I don’t think the rich should be taxed at especially high rates, the only people tax authorities seem to have the time to pursue are standard taxpayers, the little guy at the bottom of the pile. More laws of control, aimed at the masses seem important to the elite and ignoring their democratic rights then follows naturally in this thought process. In the expenses scandal (which took time to be exposed because the media was too frightened to publish!), the thing that was remarkable was not that politicians were cheating the system, nor that they disliked being caught. No, my amazement was reserved for the indignation oozing from them about our thinking we had the right to hold them accountable. The sheer arrogance of them.

    • December 6, 2018 12:34 pm

      Your problem is that you forgot your place. You are a member of the “country class” daring to question the “ruling class.” Apparently many in France are also forgetting their place. We did in 2016 and the ruling class is taking it badly.

  8. mikewaite permalink
    December 6, 2018 9:24 am

    Over at Jonova’s site “Pat” has a reference about the promises of money being made by Claire perry at Katowice:

    Take this quote for example:

    -” In Katowice, the UK Government will be committing £100 million to support up to 40 small-scale renewable projects in sub-Saharan Africa, leveraging private finance in clean energy to deliver thousands of people the renewable electricity they so badly need…”-

    On the BBC News this morning there was a report that, effectively, 5 children from every school in England have no proper home to live in – yet the Govt can hand out our money to
    overseas projects that we can be sure will never be audited just for Brownie points at this ludicrous event.

  9. December 6, 2018 10:39 am

    Yesterday they suspended the tax rise for 6 months.

    Today the news is that they have abandoned it entirely.

  10. Mike H permalink
    December 6, 2018 11:46 am

    Just seen a bulletin that the police (not sure which branch) are going on indefinite strike this weekend.

    • HotScot permalink
      December 6, 2018 6:01 pm

      Mike H

      A union which covers the control room staff has threatened to have them walk out in support of the protesters. It would leave the riot police blind and rudderless.

      As importantly and less well covered were thousands of ambulances blocking the streets of Paris. The police won’t be too willing to do much about them as they may well be needing them soon.

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    December 6, 2018 1:53 pm

    Silly Jilly writing in the Telegraph yesterday of old coal power stations firing up at £1000/Mwh to avoid the grid running out of power. Can’t read it as is premium content. Had a trailer in City AM yesterday to the article. Whatever happened to all that wind and solar?

  12. M E permalink
    December 7, 2018 1:58 am

    On the subject of books for the AGW crowd.
    This one was a good one.

    ‘Global Warming -Alarmist Skeptics & Deniers’
    -A Geoscientist Looks At The Science Of Climate Change-

    G Dedrick Robinson PhD Gene D Robinson III Esquire.

    Moonshine Cove Publishing

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