Saturday, April 2, 2011

Les Vacances de M. Hulot

This is a perennial: with a presidential election looming, the media are wondering whether Nicolas Hulot will become a candidate. Don't they always? Polls show him to be quite popular, but then, of course, he is a well-known TV personality. He speaks well, is good-looking, and knows the issues--or some of them, at any rate. One doesn't hear him saying much about regulating the financial system or reforming the universities, for example. In the last election, after toying with a run for some time, he settled on urging the other candidates to sign his famous "Ecology Pact." Which they did, on TV of course, with the Pact blown up to a size convenient for reading on le petit écran. After the election, the Hulot effect was evident in the decision to create a Superministry of the Environment, at first intended for Juppé but then given to Borloo, who staged a splashy "Grenelle of the environment" (remember that?), which led to another pact, in which all parties agreed that it would be good to be virtuous. And then there was a carbon tax, which the Conseil Constitutionnel didn't much like. And some fiddling in Cophenhagen while the planet burned. And a sideshow starring Claude Allègre. And there we are, right "back where we once belonged," as the song goes.

What environmental policy needs is a tough bureaucratic infighter, not a TV personality.

1 comment:

FrédéricLN said...

" And then there was a carbon tax, which the Conseil Constitutionnel didn't much like."

Well, there was none, because the opinion refused it. Oil prices are found to be too high, and moreover, people feel fuel-dependent, they don't think they have a wide margin of choices.

The carbon tax was the core point in the Ecology Pact. And the aim was to make the carbon emissions cost visible, tangible to consumers, so that they change their consumption behaviors.

To be enforced, the carbon tax would need more than bureaucratic infighters. But also more than a TV star.