Two days after Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, more than 100,000 French citizens took part in thousands of protests across France to demonstrate against new government policies taking effect in their country. French President Emmanuel Macron implemented a “fuel tax” aimed at curbing fuel usage and cutting down on carbon emissions contributing to climate change.
The price of diesel fuel will go up by an equivalent of 30 American cents and increase significantly over the next few years. The tax on regular gasoline will also increase from the 7 U.S. dollars per gallon already in place— and will continue to rise in the coming years. The protestors are criticizing President Macron’s alleged elitism in terms of preventing average French citizens from buying affordable gasoline.
Thousands of protestors lined the Champs-Élysées in Paris and rioted by burning the streets and throwing projectiles at French police. Thousands of police were deployed to deal with the violent mob by firing tear gas and water cannons at them. These fuel protests have been going on in France for over a week.
The Trump Administration's Climate Report
What is the irony in all of this? Many in America demand that the U.S. adopt European standards when it comes to combating climate change. What person loves the idea of higher taxes and gasoline prices?
We as Americans cannot end up like France in terms of crafting policies that do not provide any significant solutions. We must find appropriate ways to deal with the climate change issue that will not put our country into ridiculous amounts of debt.
It is obvious that this issue will not go away, with 13 federal agencies in the Trump administration releasing a climate report addressing worsening conditions across the U.S. that could very likely lead to economic trouble down the road. Three main points should be taken away from this National Climate Assessment: (1) The cost of climate change is expensive, (2) climate change is deadly, and (3) we can still do something.
Yes, the report is more on the alarmist side, but it is well established that the problem does exist in some form.
How Countries Should Deal with this Problem
So, what can countries do across the world that is reasonable enough to prevent people from protesting and good enough to prevent the economy from collapsing? The first step to combating climate change should be how to specifically deal with and adapt to worsening natural disasters. If countries can’t even deal with the immediate effects of a changing climate, how can we expect a government to tackle bigger, more complex climate issues?
The Heritage Foundation has a report which lays out crucial steps to dealing with these devastating natural disasters.
Each country (including the U.S.) should better allocate funds for natural disaster emergencies. Preparing enough resources for an immediate response to a natural disaster should be a countries first and foremost priority. We cannot focus on anything else substantial without ensuring that we can handle anything mother nature throws our way.
First, the U.S. should lessen the amount of federal shares FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) receives. Three fourths of disaster relief funds should be coming from the state in which the disaster took place, unless the disaster takes a regional or national toll— in which more federal money should be allocated.
Second, we need to bring in market competition into many aspects of relief efforts. Two specific actions would be (1) eliminating the government's monopoly on flood insurance by removing its subsidies and (2) creating electric free markets in places like Puerto Rico, where one specific company (Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority) holds all the power. Breaking its monopoly would help bring in market competition and help expedite relief efforts.
Third, we need to incorporate private charities and religious organizations into relief efforts. It’s obvious that the government cannot solve everything. By having local and federal governments coordinate with private organizations beforehand, we can ensure less chaos and tumult when the disasters hit.
Finally, we need to reject the offers, requests, and demands to subsidize green energy technologies. On top of that, we also need to reject proposed taxes on carbon dioxide and other gases. These are simply political talking points that help politicians get elected— these actions produce no solutions and take people's energy and resources away from learning to adapt. On top of that, these unnecessary taxes and regulations would further increase the debt.
The reason for taking these actions above is to prevent the federal government from becoming even more inefficient and wasteful.
One more non-governmental action citizens themselves can take is to incentivize their own community to be more efficient overall. Rioting is surely not the solution, but neither is implementing useless policies (like France) that will only worsen the attitudes of citizens across the world from doing anything about this climate issue to begin with.
Our priority should be learning to adapt to a new climate reality. Without it, we cannot expect to progress with more realistic and cost-effective efforts to combatting a changing climate.