Unfortunately the knock on effect of these protests will be the ultimate boosting of emissions as taxes such as this were an effort to allow France to catch up with their losing battle to reduce emissions in line with the 2015 Paris climate accord. The government’s failure to spell out the reasoning for fuel tax to address climate change, and for such policies to be widely understood as austerity measures, represents a deeper problem with Emmanuel Macron’s government. The problem here is the lack of innovation, if consumers are suffering as a result of these measures to such an extent, and the government continues to de-incentivise consumer emissions without supplying a realistic alternative, they ultimately leaving French consumers with no other option than to accept poverty or protest.
Although protesters in France are discontent with a range of issues effecting living standards in the country the protests were undoubtedly stimulated by fuel cost, caused specifically by rising diesel tax. France is particularly dependant on diesel as fuel, as since the 1979 oil crisis the government subsidised diesel vehicles to curb France’s reliance on gasoline, this led to a French market where 70% of new cars sold have diesel engines. These new taxes therefore not only hit car drivers hard, but hit 70% of all French drivers, the vast majority. Arguably some sort of introduction of new measures before these taxes were put in place would have been a more effective way to ease the shock to consumers, cheaper public transport or an increase to Frances tram services to reach French suburbs for example.
These people are not protesting for fun, so many people have protested for so long due to the very strained standard of living of people there, to meet this with a non-progressive mindset will not help overcome this massive series of issues in either France or elsewhere internationally. Paris especially needed to reduce their reliance on diesel, a dirtier fuel even compared to gasoline, as it would be especially embarrassing to the nation if even the home of the Paris Accords, the world’s leading climate change agreement, couldn't succeed in meeting the agreements standards. Additionally any failure to explain, address or achieve what was set out in the Paris Accords will only go to feed climate change sceptics, and if even the host cannot adhere to the Paris Accord that gives more ammunition to those fighting against regulations internationally, such as Donald Trump who pulled out of the agreement.