Is Sarkozy Europe’s Al Gore?

A quote from Helle Dale in The Washington Times, 9 May 2007

Mr. Sarkozy has been unabashedly pro-American in his campaign and his victory speech. “I want [...] to tell [our American friends] that they can count on our friendship, [...]” he said on Sunday. Then he went on to call for American leadership – in a cause that unfortunately has by now just about achieved the status of religion in Europe. “I want to tell them that [...] a great nation such as the United States has a duty not to put obstacles in the way of the fight against global warming, but on the contrary to take the lead in this fight, because what is at stake is the fate of humanity as a whole. France will make this battle its primary battle.”

There are other causes that one might have preferred for Mr. Sarkozy’s clarion call to American leadership – global terrorism, for instance, or political freedom, or even an end to world hunger, which would be easier to achieve than changing the climate of the earth by any measurable degree.

Road tax vs. Fuel Tax cont. vs. energy tax

Snorri "privatization of the roads, perhaps?"

My personal opinion is you should never privatize a monopoly.  The free market only works when there is competiton.

My opinion on carbon taxes is that there is much that can be done in regards to improving energy efficiency without such lunacy as wind farms and biofuels. Mandating minimum refrigeration efficiency in the US for example would cut energy consumption in California by huge amounts. Currently manufacturers churn out cheap refrigerators and air conditioners knowing that everything is point of sale regardless of whether the unit consumes 1000% of its purchase price in energy every year (easy for a cheap fridge). This could be as simple as a rating system. California has one now but it is inadequate. Conservation is good but this carbon tax crap is leftist lunacy.


So France's "primary battle" is against an imaginary threat and of course his 'good friends' the Americans are being invited to lead (i.e. hamstring their economy and send lots of money to the third world). Is he serious or is this just some obligatory ass-kissing to mollify the French left?

road tax vs. fuel tax

Snorri "Whatever one thinks of global warming, why should roads be subsidized?"


I thought that was why we have a 200% fuel tax?  Tolls are just designed to keep as many people as possible on government owned railways.

Driving from Lille to Lyon is something like 60 euros one way in addition to 1.50 euro/liter fuel (mostly tax). Suddenly the overpriced inefficient rails are competitive again.

@Amsterdamsky #3: road tax vs fuel tax

Now I see what you mean, sorry it's taken so long.

There are pros and cons to both road tolls and fuel taxes. A road toll is more suited to pay for the roads, and to reduce congestion. A fuel tax is more suited to cut carbon emissions, and to reduce dependency on Middle-East theocracies and Venezuelan populists. I don't know how to make sure that the combined road+fuel charges don't become unreasonable: privatization of the roads, perhaps?


what is, on the face of it, a nonpartisan issue, is used as a battering ram for power. So, for example, 3 weeks ago I'm at a lunch on sustainable development and what the next President should do. (500+ people, Denver) All the speakers are Dem's, they spend longer on introductions than speeches, past officeholders are honored, most speakers never mention sustainable development.
Might as well have been a DNC conference.

A person can be for, or against, sustainable development measures, and argue for, or against, various proposals. But realize this is a football in a much bigger game run by players who could give a rat's ass either way.


This article makes the same point I made in my comment after the "Gore Propaganda in British Schools" posting below.  Of all the "major" problems facing world leaders, global warming -- if in fact it is largly man-made -- is probably the one problem they can least resolve without dismantling the industrial economy and thereby creating much worse problems.  It is thus very disappointing to see Sarkozy jumping on that disingenuous bandwagon.


Roughdoggo suggested after the "Gore Propaganda" posting that people who take exception to the empty, self-righteous statements that politicians make about global warming are ignorant "denialists."  That is precisely the sort of bullying on this issue that convinces me more thoroughly that this entire rhetorical maneuver -- "Capitalists are destroying the planet!" -- is bound to collapse at some point.  True, the anti-DDT hysteria has never waned, at the cost of millions of lives.  But I have naive faith that reason will prevail on this issue.  How much longer can Hollywood celebrities, with their lavish weddings, huge mansions, private jets, and junk culture, go on lecturing the rest of us to stop using toilet paper?  How much longer can the Tony Blairs of the world scold us for heating our homes right before they fly off to Thailand on vacation?

There's something happening here...

Dear Mr Lee

I agree absolutely with you regarding the hypocrisy of politicians who tell us one thing, and then do the opposite themselves. But when was this ever different, or restricted to any particular flavour of any political spectrum? That type of chicanery has been going on since Babylon and before.

The fact that politicians are hypocritical does not mean, however, that they are necessarily wrong when it comes to taking a position on an issue. You know the old saying - "Vizi privati, pubbliche virtú".

My mention of denialists was not particularly aimed at those "who take exception to the empty, self-righteous statements that politicians make". Rather, it was directed to those who persist in willful ignorance regarding scientic evidence, and here, on a more basal level, the testimony of plant migration. (Perhaps it would be more productive to talk with a few gardeners about this subject, instead obsessing about Al Gore?)

In any instance, climate is an over-arching issue. That is to say, if a climate doomsday scenario actually kicked into effect, you need not worry about world hunger, AIDS, chemical pollution, terrorism, the economy, or the like - all these issues will vanish, along with a breathable atmosphere. Sarkozy is thus right to make warming his prime focus of attention.

Now that I've addressed your issues, can you tell me how to get a date with Ms Dale? Never mind her politics!

al gore?

Everyone knows the U.S. will never sign on to the Kyoto protocol. Sarkozy knows this too. So, by him saying that the U.S. will have to show the lead, he is actually saying that he and France will have to do nothing until the U.S. starts caving in to the global warming conspiracy.

Blue Moon

Ermm – just thinking out loud: given that Helle Dale is feeding out of the trough of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, who subsidize the (money-losing) conservative Washington Times to the tune of about 3 billion bucks, can anyone tell me if she is one of its staff who are Moonies?

Obviously, I realise that this is not necessarily the case because she works for them, anymore than it is the case that she gets soused on Coors weekends just because she once worked for the Coors-funded Heritage Foundation.

It's only that I'm wondering about her (who wouldn't after seeing her picture!)

Can her take on new French PM Nic Sarcophagus have anything to do with the French state being down on cults? Again, just wondering.

transport is not an important CO2 source

The focus on transport being regarded as an important CO2 culprit shows the real nature of the fight on global warming.

Transport is a very unimportant source of CO2, only contributing by 10%, personal and freight transport included.

Yet transport gets a lot of focus, much more than household heating for instance.

That is because sabotaging transport is much more efficient as an attack on the capitalist consumption society than turning the heating one or two degrees down.

It's all about putting back the capitalist consumption society, not about climate.



I was excited.... hear about France's new President and it's new direction, with plans to reform the relationship between France and the USA, but hearing this comment from the newly elected Mr. Sarkozy has just deflated that excitement.

Purpose of tolls

Do you really think the toll booths are there for any other reason other than to ensure a government monopoly of transportation?  The EU politburea already rulled some truck tolls in eastern europe illegal I find it odd that France and Austria still manage to gauge travellers like this.  There is truly no alternative to most business travel other than car in europe especially if you need tools or samples or presentation materials.

@Amsterdamsky #2

My comment was not about the purpose of tolls, it was about your economic logic; and, implicitly, about the socialist road system of the USA. Whatever one thinks of global warming, why should roads be subsidized?

I find it odd that France and Austria still manage to gauge travellers like this.

You can add Italy to this list. And London.


Now that's an original idea, cutting carbon emissions by making it cheaper to travel by car!

could be worse

A European Al Gore is still (likely to be) an improvement over Jacques Chirac.  And it's much, much better than a European Noam Chomsky.

The Economist got it right

The Economist got it right by stating that Sarkozy was more of a pragmatist than any unabashed champion of free enterprise and economic freedoms. If they really want to reduce carbon emmisions they should tear down the extremely frequent highway toll boths that leaving drivers and trucks idling for long periods and create traffic jams.