On Black Friday, the administration of President Donald Trump released the Fourth National Climate Assessment.
It had no real choice in the matter; it is required by law to release it. It was only a question of when. So it made the best of a bad situation and dropped it on Black Friday, which all but guaranteed there would be multiple stories saying, “Here is the report the Trump administration did not want you to read.”
If there were a too long/didn’t read summary, it would say that North America is on fire and we are all going to die – but first it will cost the U.S. trillions of dollars to prolong our fate, and also, if we are to have a snowball’s chance in Alaska, we must cease all fossil fuel consumption by last Christmas.
It comes on the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which said that Earth is heating like a marble in a microwave oven – but it might still be possible to prolong our fate, if India gives up wanting air-conditioning before it gets it and China and the U.S. nuke all coal deposits.
No, really; this is bad. We are joking because we do not know what else to do.
But others do! France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has taxed gasoline to the point where it slightly exceeds $7 per gallon. To speed the movement of motorists away from fossil fuels, because of the end of the world, he announced more fuel tax hikes.
Macron can do this because a president of France, despite its famous revolution, has king-like powers and the French just have to take it.
Ha! No. Hundreds of thousands of working-class protesters, more worried about the end of the month than the end of the world, took to the streets in yellow safety vests, throwing bricks and bottles at police, who naturally responded with tear gas.
A writer for a French newspaper sniffed that the protesters were from “the diesel class.” We had to look that up in the Dictionary of French Idioms. It means “déplorables.”
Those French. In America, protesters take diesel buses to D.C. to corner senators in elevators until they agree to meaningless investigations. We can do that because gas is still below $3 a gallon here.
Last weekend, the French protests accelerated, marking the worst violence in Paris streets since May of 1969. By Tuesday, Macron folded, “suspending” the fuel tax increase — but the protesters, joined now by trade unionists, say they will fight on, demanding more taxes on the wealthy.
In between the French protests, General Motors announced it is shutting seven U.S. factories, for various reasons, including its move into electric vehicles for foreign markets – like France, where people will be encouraged to lease electric vehicles if they tire of fighting the gendarmerie.
The Trump administration did not take the GM move well. Chief Executive Mary Barra was summoned to the White House to meet with economic adviser Larry Kudlow. The next day, Kudlow told reporters the administration had helped an ungrateful GM by trying to roll back fuel efficiency standards.
France generates three-quarters of its electricity from state-owned nuclear power plants. The U.S. gets about 64 percent from gas and coal, and about 19 percent from private-sector nuclear.
If Macron can just best his “deplorables,” you might see them driving Volt 2s.