"There is a risk that some of our fellow citizens will turn away from climate measures"

The economist Géraud Guibert urges the government to make a better mix between rising carbon dioxide tax and gas prices in a forum in the "World" to prevent a "climate gap" in the population.



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

Stand. Several climate marches were organized a few weeks ago. A demonstration in preparation for November 17 calls for the tax on petrol to be reduced. This contradiction reveals a real climate gap between those who feel that the fight against climate change must become a top priority, and those who believe it is not up to them to pay. This break, with a strong territorial and social dimension, is a major challenge, especially as it hinders 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 usable issues and tools and on precise and objective explanations.

For households, the real "price signal" is not the level of the price of carbon, but that of the world price of petrol, diesel or gas

Giving a price for carbon, either through taxation or a market price, is an indispensable and effective tool, showing examples such as Sweden. The average level in France, 18 euros in 2015 according to the OECD, certainly places us for many countries, but remains below what is needed. Going further is not only a duty to the climate, it is our interest: every progress made in this area is a major advantage in international competition, and avoids having to be much more expensive for the future. The government is therefore right to remain resolute, which contrasts with the courage of these predecessors on this subject.

However, three aspects were underestimated in this strategy. Carbon is not owned like any other. Both products – fossil fuels and carbon – are in fact linked and sold together with a single price. For households the real "price signal" is not the level of the price of carbon, …