France reopens carbon tax debate that fuelled ‘yellow vest’ protests

(EurActiv, 24 Jan 2019) The proceeds of the carbon tax, which triggered the ‘yellow vest’ movement in France, should be allocated to the energy transition if the French people are going to accept it. But the government seems reluctant to acknowledge this. EURACTIV France reports.

François de Rugy, the French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, put ecological taxation back on the table at the inaugural session of the European energy transition conferences taking place in Dunkirk on 22-24 January.

De Rugy raised the matter of the French carbon tax, which was put on hold in late 2018 in an attempt to stem the ‘yellow vest’ movement.

Adopted in 2013, the Contribution Climat-Énergie – or carbon tax – sets a price per tonne of CO2 emitted, which increases year on year.

Because it raised the cost of fuel, the carbon tax was the starting point of the ‘yellow vest’ protests, which later morphed into a broader movement against taxation and government policies.

But while the planned rise in the carbon tax rate was put on hold for 2019, the principle continues to be a priority for the French government, de Rugy said during his visit to Dunkirk.

“When it comes to implementing climate policy, there is a consensus. We’re not a country where climate sceptics thrive,” the minister said.

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EurActiv, 24 Jan 2019: France reopens carbon tax debate that fuelled ‘yellow vest’ protests