Au Revoir, Carbon Tax

Jeff Witt /

As the Obama administration makes it clear they want to pursue a carbon capping policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the French government announced that it would abandon plans to impose a similar carbon tax on domestic energy and transportation fuels.

The reason for the French government’s change of tune is obvious. Sarkozy’s party knows that the carbon tax, which would have raised gasoline prices by 17 cents per gallon and domestic gas bills by 7 percent, would have significantly harmed the intra-continental and international competitiveness of French businesses and would have raised considerably the cost of living for the French people. Indeed, Prime Minister Francois Fillon told fellow center-right politicians at a meeting on Tuesday that, “All decisions taken on the issue of sustainable development must be analyzed in the light of our competitiveness.” So, the move is designed to quell the evident consternation of the French people by adopting growth-inducing economic policies rather than growth-killing policies.

David Kreutzer, Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change, says a carbon tax is the most humane way to execute an innocent person. Taxing a substance that has debatable effects on climate change comes with a high price tag and will do little, if anything, to reduce global temperatures. France is already part of the European Union’s Emission Trading System (ETS), a multinational cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse emissions wrought with its own problems. The House of Representatives passed a cap and trade legislation last year in hopes that the Senate will act this year, but Europe’s experience suggests we should pull the reigns back. The Wall Street Journal details the fraud involved with Europe’s ETS.