Tom Vonk who lives in France has written a concerned message about the Yellow Vest protesters.
They protest against the increased price of fuels from the beginning of 2019 that is scheduled to follow from Macron's version of the carbon tax. The president uses the slogan "Make the Planet Great Again".
Tom calls the price hike significant but my understanding is that the petrol price should only increase by some 4% (6% of 60% of the price which is the tax) which seems noticeable but rather insignificant. It's not too different from the annual fluctuations of petrol prices in my homeland in recent years.
But despite France's relative wealth, that relatively modest change seems to be enough to spark something that Tom sees as "almost a civil war".
Now, I am a climate skeptic and the protesters protest against the carbon tax. So far so good. But my sympathies with them may end soon afterwards – their methods seem inadequate to me, the reactions are disproportionate to the proposed policy, and they don't seem to be calm and impartial scientists to me, either. It seems clear to me the Tom considers them a violent rabble, too. They have already damaged the Triumphal Arc of the Star, one of the famous structures in Paris. They create lots of mess and some of them threaten to bring firearms and other things.
Several portions of the society (e.g. students are paramedics) are joining the Yellow Vest revolutionaries. The movement has many levels, from those that could be considered partners for negotiation to straight criminals who just want to use the situation to loot.
Tom is preemptively thinking about another emigration and I discouraged him from Czechia where he was born because the takeover by Babiš and his bloody primitive and dishonest rabble (mostly composed of pensioners whose only purpose of life is to devour as much money through pensions as possible, regardless of the fate of the country) seems about as disturbing to me as the violence in the French streets.
Macron has repeated that he wouldn't change anything about his planned carbon tax. The situation may deteriorate further. Again, aside from my agreement that the carbon tax is a bad idea, I don't sympathize with the protesters and I think it's right when police tries to limit their impact and arrest the main perpetrators of vandalism and violence. On the other hand, the very need to do such things costs a lot of money, creates lots of new tensions, and divides the French society. The costs are high.
I urge Mr Macron to abandon all his carbon tax plans for 2019. France doesn't really need another revolution and Europe doesn't want to deal with a rogue country that is overtaken by a violent rabble.
But whether Macron insists on these plans or not, I stress that we are talking about a relatively modest price hike that wouldn't qualitatively change the behavioral patterns of drivers and others. It wouldn't qualitatively diminish the CO2 emissions and other things. But even the 4% price hike seems to be marginally enough to ignite a civil war in France!
A one-minute video that looks really dramatic. Among other things, 112 cars were torched. The riots may be the worst ones since 1968.
And now imagine that some loons want to reduce the CO2 emissions by 30 or 40 percent – or even higher and more insane numbers. They want the people to switch from fossil fuel-based electricity to power sources that are more expensive by 400% (thankfully, France at least gets 80 percent of its electricity from the nuclei which is a rather cheap source). Do you really think it's possible to introduce such changes – including multiples of 100% increase of the price of energy – in nations such as France if a 4% price hike is almost enough for a civil war?
All the ideas about the decarbonization are just totally unrealistic. Fossil fuels are an excellent battery that was prepared by Mother Nature, the 21st century may be the last one when this battery is really helpful for humans, ordinary people know this fact sufficiently well, and they will keep on using it. Most of them don't even understand most of the abstract discussions about the climate and the climate-related policies but when they see the consequences for their everyday life, they may get really angry even when the stimuli are modest.
Be ready that in every year of the 21st century, the CO2 concentration will go up by some 2 ppm, just like what it is doing now. It is inevitable. If some people will prepare credible plans to lower the CO2 emissions by multiples of ten percent, they will simply be killed by the "dissatisfied forgotten ones" because the future editions of the Yellow Vests ("gilets jaunes") will be impossible to be defeated by the forces the climate alarmist politicians will consider "their employees".
So please stop the carbon tax. And dear protesters, please calm down. I assume that Macron is still the more reasonable side among the two and he can be persuaded to make steps that will prevent very bad outcomes. But I am not 100% certain about that.
France is producing some 1% of the CO2 emissions of the world, the 2019 carbon tax policies may remove 2% from that amount, that's 0.02% of the CO2 emissions, and the CO2 emissions may increase the global mean temperature by some 0.015 °C a year (assuming the whole recent observed trend is due to CO2). So Macron's policy will make the Earth cooler by 0.000003 °C a year. Are these three microkelvins precious enough for Mr Macron to throw France into a civil war?
But the other side really needs to calm down, too. Do you actually want to risk your life in physical collisions with the police or the army because of a few percent increase of the fuel prices? Have you tried to compare these two sacrifices rationally?
Meanwhile, the far left of many flavors is doing terrible things across the world. At Harvard, a cute female student faces eviction after her roommates didn't like her MAGA hat and legally possessed firearms!
Some fun news. Nikoleta Šurinová, an 11-year-old Slovak girl from the countryside, won the latest Czecho-Slovakia Has Talent. She got some €50,000 and earned a loud hate club, too. I am not sure she's the most talented contestant but I surely find her percussion impressive enough, impossible for me to replicate, and her gestures and face muscle harmony fills me with joy and energy.