Incoming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., thinks that her climate policy agenda will bring more “justice” to disadvantaged communities. The yellow vest riots in France tell another story.
At Monday’s “Climate Change Town Hall” organized by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Ocasio-Cortez called the push for new environmental policies “the civil rights movement of our generation.”
She also said that fighting climate change is “the mechanism through which we can really deliver justice to communities that have been underserved.”
“We have injustices in this country. Those injustices are concentrated in frontline communities and indigenous, black and brown communities,” she said. “They’re the ones that experience the greatest depths of this injustice.”
“We can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States of America,” Ocasio-Cortez also said.
Ah yes. That’s what struggling families and communities really need right now: Solar panels and electric cars.
Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez should take a look at what’s going on in France right now, where similar attempts to curb fossil fuel consumption to address climate change have led to violent riots all over Paris that have killed several people.
There, political leaders have been forced to postpone and then cancel a proposed carbon tax and new emissions regulations that sparked the riots. The tax and regulations were meant to encourage people to swap out their diesel-powered vehicles for more eco-friendly modes of transportation.
Fuel taxes in France are already estimated to be 64 percent for unleaded gasoline and 59 percent for diesel. Currently, diesel costs around $6.50 per gallon in France, and the tax hike would have driven that price even higher.
As a New York Times report explains, while wealthier urbanites were fine with the proposal, it drew ire from those who have trouble making ends meet in rural areas and suburbs.
French PM Edouard Phillippe agreed with this assessment, saying that the anger in the streets came from “hard-working France, which has a hard time making ends meet.”
“This anger has its source in a profound injustice,” Phillippe added. “That of not being able to live decently from the fruit of one’s labor.”
It’s a simple reality: When government steps in with environmental regulations and new taxes on necessities, it gets a lot harder for regular folks to fill up their gas tanks, keep their families warm in the winter, and keep food on the table.
And where exactly is the “justice” in that?
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to note that the proposed French policies have not been merely postponed, as was first reported, but have now been canceled.