Unfortunately the knock on effect of these protests will be the ultimate boost 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 this, and for these 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 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, since the 1979 oil crisis the government subsidised diesel vehicles to curb France’s reliance on gasoline, this lead to a French market where 70% of new cars sold run on a diesel engine. These new taxes therefore not only hit car drivers hard, but hit 70% of 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.