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Massive Riots in Paris Threaten Climate Accord

Certainly, the communications strategy in the run-up was impressive.

In October came that apocalyptic U.N. report warning that the world is warming faster than we thought and the disasters coming sooner than we thought.

What disasters? More and worse hurricanes, uncontrollable fires, floods, the erosion of coastlines, typhoons, drought, tsunamis, the sinking of islands into the sea.

In November, a scientific report issued by 13 U.S. agencies warned that if greater measures are not taken to reduce global warming, the damage could knock 10 percent off the size of the U.S. economy by century’s end.

At the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, 19 of the attending nations recommitted to the Paris accord. Only President Trump’s America did not.

Yet, though confidence may abound in Katowice that the world will meet the goals set down in Paris in 2015, the global environmentalists seem to be losing momentum and losing ground.

Consider what happened this weekend in France.

Saturday, rage over a fuel tax President Emmanuel Macron has proposed to cut carbon emissions brought mobs into the heart of Paris, where they battled police, burned cars, looted, smashed show windows of elite stores such as Dior and Chanel, and desecrated the Arc de Triomphe.


In solidarity with the Paris rioters, protests in other French cities erupted.

Virulently anti-elite, the protesters say they cannot make ends meet with the present burdens on the working and middle class.

Specifically, what the rioters seem to be saying is this:

We cannot see the benefits you are promising to future generations from cutting carbon emissions. And we cannot survive the taxes you are imposing on us in the here and now.

What is happening in Paris carries a message for all Western countries.

Democracies, which rely on the sustained support of electorates, have to impose rising costs on those electorates, if they are to deeply cut carbon emissions.

But when the electorates cannot see the benefits of these painful price hikes, the greater the likelihood the people will rise up and repudiate those whom progressives regard as far-sighted leaders — such as Macron.

Paris shows that Western elites may be reaching the limits of their political capacity to impose major sacrifices upon their constituents, who are turning to populists of the left and right to dethrone those elites.

Trump has been using tariffs to cut the trade deficits America has been running in recent decades, to bring manufacturing back to the USA, and to restore America’s economic independence.

Excellent goals all. But the immediate impact of those tariffs is rising prices at the mall and retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports. Before the long-term benefits can be realized, the pain comes and the protests begin.

No one wins a trade war, we are told. But an America willing to endure lost access to British imports in the 19th century emerged in the 20th as the greatest manufacturing power history had ever seen, a nation independent of all others, and able to stay out of the great wars of that century.

Are the American people willing to make the sacrifices to restore that independence? Are the British people willing to pay the price that the restoration of their national independence, via Brexit, entails?

Authoritarians have it easier. Morally revolting and socially ruinous as its hellish policy was, China was able to impose, for decades, a one-couple, one-child mandate on the most populous nation on earth.

According to the Paris agreement, poorer nations were promised $100 billion a year, starting in 2020, to cut carbon emissions. Anyone think that the newly nationalistic peoples of the West will tolerate that kind of wealth transfer to the Third World indefinitely?

In the Paris climate accord, China and India were given a pass to produce carbon emissions, while reductions were mandated for the Western powers.

How long will the West go along with that, while paying ever-rising prices to cut their own carbon emissions?

China, according to The New York Times, “consumes half the world’s coal. More than 4.3 million Chinese are employed in the country’s coal mines. China has added 40 percent of the world’s coal capacity since 2002.”

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is planning new coal-fired power plants and financing them across Asia.

What we are witnessing is an irrepressible conflict between democratic governments committed to cutting carbon emissions “to save the planet,” and their constituents who can refuse to bear those sacrifices by throwing out politicians like Macron.

Perhaps it says something about the future that the host city for this meeting of Paris climate accord signatories, Katowice, is in Silesia, a region that is home to some 90,000 coal workers — around half of all the coal workers in the EU.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

16 Comments (Open | Close)

16 Comments To "Massive Riots in Paris Threaten Climate Accord"

#1 Comment By Artyom Strelok On December 3, 2018 @ 11:03 pm

“those whom progressives regard as far-sighted leaders — such as Macron.”
Progressives regard Macron as a far-sighted leader? Hardly. Do even the slightest bit of research and find plenty of progressives speaking quite ill of him.

#2 Comment By JimDandy On December 4, 2018 @ 3:17 am

I don’t like Macron, but I will still offer this simple solution for him to get out of the enormous mess he has created:

He met his wife (25 years his senior) when she was his high school teacher. He simple has to say that she abused her power, “groomed” him, brainwashed him, sexually abused him, and that all of his poor governing has been the result of PTSD and, uh… gaslighting. Hence, the yellow-vests are simply blaming the victim and re-traumatizing him. Voila!

#3 Comment By Mark VA On December 4, 2018 @ 7:17 am

Today in France, the Arc de Triomphe seems to signify something new:

The attempted triumph of the Etat over the French people.

#4 Comment By Michael Kenny On December 4, 2018 @ 8:13 am

“Able to stay out of the great wars of that century”. Exactly what wars is Mr Buchanan referring to? Since 1776, there have only been three great wars: the French Revolutionary Wars, WWI and WWII and the US has been involved in all of them. In all three cases, it tried to keep out but was ultimately dragged reluctantly into them because it had interests to defend. With coastlines on the world’s two great oceans, it’s hard to see how the US can avoid being involved in any major world conflict which arises. That just the logical consequence of its geographical position.

#5 Comment By Countme-a-Demon On December 4, 2018 @ 9:08 am

Antifa will be celebrating and adopting the efficacy of the yellow vest savage violence.

Be careful what you wish for, Buchanan.

#6 Comment By Stephen J. On December 4, 2018 @ 10:03 am

I believe this is what is needed to stop the political pollution emanating from the mouths of so-called “world leaders.”
“The Climate Change We Really Need”

I believe if “global warming” is to be curtailed, one way to stop it would be to arrest some of these war mongering criminals masquerading as “world leaders” who have massively bombed a number of countries in illegal wars, and polluted the atmosphere around the world. Instead, these hypocrites parade and get their picture taken on the “world stage.” (Or should we call it a staged gathering of The New World Order Puppets?) And of course it’s all paid for by the tax dollars of the docile serfs, many of whom are clamouring to be taxed more to “save the earth.” They don’t seem to understand or know that the biggest polluters on earth are some of the war mongering hypocrites they vote into office and the corporate cannibals who make and sell weapons to governments, dictators and despots to set the world on fire….

The light is not being shone on the pollution by war, or its contamination of the planet by the war criminals, or their financing and arming of terrorists, or the war crimes committed. The corporate media are strangely silent on this. Instead, we are bombarded with nice sounding phrases like, “green investment,” “green energy” and “sustainable development.” Meanwhile countries are subjected to hellish bombs and hellfire missile “energies” from the skies by the madmen in power. These are called “surgical strikes” and result in cities and countries destroyed, millions dead and millions of refugees. Is this what is meant by “sustainable development” by the monsters in our midst? They create burning and smoking hells and pollute the earth. Now they are assembled in Paris to do something about “climate change.” What a bunch of pompous hypocrites they are. I believe if we really want to repair the climate, we should advocate for the arrest of these war polluters who are destroying this earth we all live on. That would be a positive action for the better, a less polluted planet, and the climate change we really need….
[read more at link below]

#7 Comment By b. On December 4, 2018 @ 11:57 am

Buchanan is a coward. If he does not believe that our generation needs to make sacrifices that our own children do not have to pay the bill, he does not have the fortitude to say so. That applies to taxes as much as CO2.

#8 Comment By b. On December 4, 2018 @ 12:02 pm

‘Elites want to “save the planet” at any cost’

I hesitate to blame Buchanan for a tagline that might well be an editorial misfire, but just to be clear: the elites do not want to save the planet. Nobody wants to save the planet. Everybody wants to save themselves. The question is, are there people who want to save the unborn? Because railing against abortion in the expectation that it will not ever affect yourself is hardly a display of courage, and refusing to consider sacrifice at cost to yourself is the exact opposite of courage.

We might have to bleed to roll back and contain the mistakes and criminal negligence of our generation and our parent’s generation, but it appears that Buchanan is, solidly, a member of those “elites” he poses to criticize.

#9 Comment By CLW On December 4, 2018 @ 1:57 pm

Nothing to see here but Pat’s rejection of basic science and economics to justify his isolationist fantasies: when Miami disappears into the sea, he’ll still be hectoring us with cherry-picked examples from the 19th century of when tariffs “worked.”

#10 Comment By fabian On December 4, 2018 @ 2:21 pm

I have the impression that people are upset because they feel that the sacrifices are really shared with those who impose them.

#11 Comment By Martin On December 4, 2018 @ 2:34 pm

When the major coastal cities sink into the city I’ll thank God we’ve been freed of them.

#12 Comment By Nathan Redshield On December 4, 2018 @ 3:11 pm

Again, when it gets as warm as it was in AD 1100, deduced from what crops were growing where then, what sort of pickle will we be in? Miami might be under the water then along with my condo–even if all the people in world were dead. Pat had great points in this piece, better than usual. Gotta go!

#13 Comment By Positivethinker On December 4, 2018 @ 3:37 pm

The ‘world’ is un-saveable.
We should all focus on saving ourselves so that we don’t become somebody else’s problem.

#14 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On December 4, 2018 @ 4:38 pm

“Democracies, which rely on the sustained support of electorates, have to impose rising costs on those electorates, if they are to deeply cut carbon emissions.”

A fee-and-dividend carbon tax–the first step in cutting carbon emissions–would give money back to the citizenry; the “fee” is from taxing carbon emissions at the source (wholesale not retail, in other words), and the “dividend” is the money sent directly to legal citizens (not aliens).

Democrats don’t want that. They want cap-and-trade, which gives the money to the government and to whatever groups the government favors, instead of to the people. Democrats also love the fact that a large bureaucracy is created in any cap-and-trade taxing scheme.

The big con is not global warming but Democrats’s half-a**ed solutions to it. The only thing they’re right about is the potential of solar power. Wind power is a disaster. What would work is high altitude windmills attached to the ground by electric cables, as suggested by oceanographer David Archer. Tons of birds would be killed by flying into the cables, but the extreme winds at 30-40,000 feet would generate a lot of electricity. Democrats care about a few birds more than they do about humans.

#15 Comment By SteveK9 On December 5, 2018 @ 5:11 pm

Pat, this has nothing to do with climate change. The gas tax was just a spark that set off a smoldering pile of tinder. The French are furious for the same reason that majorities in the West are furious everywhere. They are being ripped off by a corrupt and rotten elite.

#16 Comment By Coy L Rea On December 8, 2018 @ 12:55 pm

Michael Kenny says the U.S. was involved in the French Revolution. This is “Fake News”!