"The risk is that some of our fellow citizens are moving away from climate action"

The economist Géraud Guibert urges the government, in a forum in the "World", to combine better between the increase of carbon tax and gas prices to avoid a "climate division" in the population.

THE ECONOMIC WORLD
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A motorist fills the tank of his car with fuel at a gas station on November 4, 2018 in La Ville-aux-Dames, in central France. (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)

Tribune. A few weeks ago, several climate marches were organized. A demonstration is on his side in preparation on November 17 to ask to reduce the taxation of the price of gasoline. This contradiction reveals a true division of the climate among those who believe that the fight against climate change must become a top priority and those who believe that it is not up to them to pay. This fracture, with a strong territorial and social dimension, is a great challenge, above all because it hinders an effective mobilization against climate change. Its existence is not fatal, but it must be reduced that the action is based on a clear vision of the problems and instruments that can be used and on precise and objective explanations.

For families, the true "price signal" is not the level of the price of carbon, but that of the global price of petrol, diesel or gas

Giving a price to carbon, either through taxation or a market price, is an indispensable and effective tool, as demonstrated by examples like Sweden. Its average level in France, € 18 in 2015 according to the OECD, certainly positions us in front of many countries, but remains below what is necessary. Going beyond is not only a duty towards the climate, it is our interest: any progress made in this field is a great advantage in international competition, and avoids having to adapt much more expensive to the future. The government is therefore right to remain determined, which contrasts with the pusillanimity of these predecessors on this subject.

However, three aspects have been underestimated in this strategy. Carbon is not a property like any other. Both products – fossil fuels and carbon – are in fact connected and sold together at a single price. For families, the true "price signal" is not the price level of carbon, …

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