French Revolution! Carbon tax ruled unconstitutional just two days before taking effect

This new French carbon tax was scheduled to go into law on Jan1, 2010. The tax was steep: 17 euros per ton of carbon dioxide (USD $24.40).  In a stunning move, and surely a blow to warmists everywhere, the tax has been found unconstitutional and thrown out. Originally found here (Google Translation).

Lord Monckton was kind enough to assist me in deciphering the meaning of the ruling and writes:

In France, if at least 60 Deputies of the House and 60 Senators appeal to the Constitutional Council, it has the power to pronounce on the constitutionality of a proposed law – in the present case, the 2010 national budget of France, which contained enabling provisions (loi deferee) for a carbon levy. The Council found that these enabling provisions were unconstitutional on two grounds: that the exemptions contained within the provisions for a carbon levy vitiated the primary declared purpose of the levy, to combat carbon emissions and hence “global warming”; and that the exemptions would cause the levy to fall disproportionately on gasoline and heating oils and not on other carbon emissions, thereby breaching the principle that taxation should be evenly and fairly borne.

The Press release from the French Constitutional Council is here in English (Google Translated) and in original French

Here’s a Deustch-Welle news article on the reversal.

France’s Constitutional Council says the country’s proposed carbon tax is illegal. This is a severe blow to French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to fight climate change.

France’s Constitutional Council has struck down a carbon tax that was planned to take effect on January 1st. The council, which ensures the constitutionality of French legislation, said too many polluters were exempted in the measure and the tax burden was not fairly distributed.

It was estimated that 93 percent of industrial emissions outside of fuel use, including the emissions of more than 1,000 of France’s top polluting industrial sites, would be exempt from the tax, which would have charged 17 euros per ton of emitted carbon dioxide.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has argued the tax is necessary to combat climate change and reduce the country’s dependence on oil.

However, the council’s ruling is a severe blow to both Sarkozy’s environmental plan as well as France’s budget for 2010. The government now has to find a way to come up with about 4.1 billion euros in revenue that was expected from the tax.

h/t to WUWT reader Dirk H

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David Ball

To the carbon tax: “Now go away, or I will taunt you a second time” 8^]
REPLY: [ Moderator will now take an unplanned giggle break 😉
-mod ]

First real domino to fall?


Seems to me that tax rate was more than a little excessive… according to the EPA site, a gallon of gasoline creates 8.8 kg (19.4 lbs) of CO2, using round numbers it takes about 100 gallons to make that ton… that is an instant tax of about $20/100 = 20 cents per gallon of gas.
I know gas is already expensive in Europe, but that’s a lot more $$$ for no return.


Vive la France!

Boo Hoo :)…

eric anderson

I’ll raise a glass of Chateau Margaux to that!


Never thought I’d say this – vive la France!

God bless the French for seeing the light of reason. Plant trees. Don’t tax the people to death. Tea Party America!
Que Dieu bénisse les Français pour voir la lumière de la raison. Planter des arbres. Ne pas taxer les gens à la mort. Tea Party America!


Norfolk, VA, USA

Well done France (you have no idea how hard it is for an Englishman to say that).
And a very happy New Year to you Mr Watts and to all your team and readers.

Sacre bleu! Well done!


The French are already paying about (USD) $7 per gallon of gas, about 70% of which is already tax. Since it takes roughly 100 gallons to create a ton of CO2, the added tax would hardly be seen. Fill up with 20 gallons and the cost would increase from $140 to $144. This must be a real hard blow right to the center of the forehead of the French alarmists.


Je suis tres heureux !!
Bonne annee !

Evan Jones

Bear in mind that the tax may return with the “problems” removed. But this is a considerable blow to the AGW movement, esp. on the heels of Copenhagen.
Also never forget that France does a lot to maintain peace, order, and whatever freedom exists in its former colonies at considerable cost and with no thanks from anyone. These are places no other nation (including the US) cares about. So let us recognize and appreciate that.

Fasool Rasmin

Thank the Lord! My family and I have always considered living in France,now we shall sell up -lstock and barrel- and arrive on her beautiful shores!`

Fluffy Clouds (Tim L)

Let me get my LOL!!!!!! in here!

Vote Quimby

I do believe [url=]this may have been the first domino to fall[/url], let’s see how may more fall now, hopefully then it will look like this…


Great news, there’s still a 4c per litre carbon tax on diesel and petrol here in Ireland though :\
Off topic, wired’s latest issue has a story about a study of researchers “Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up” that might help explain the AGW heavyweight’s behaviour:
“The scientists had these elaborate theories about what was supposed to happen,” Dunbar says. “But the results kept contradicting their theories. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to spend a month on a project and then just discard all their data because the data didn’t make sense.”
Awful to waste a month, but 25-30 years would be unbearable.

Vote Quimby

ok not sure if my last post went through, so I’ll try without the double links and change it a little 🙂
To Jim,
I do believe that the ETS, which was basically a carbon tax, was defeated in
Australia earlier this month, so I think this French one would be the second one to fall, hopefully this will be the first of many dominoes to fall, like this….

Vote Quimby

OK my bad, if I had of scrolled up I would have seen that it did in fact go through he he

OK, I’m not the first, (h/t to ManbearPig (22:02:58) : ) but I second that: viva la france! viva les francaise! Les Chaudierres, aux lanternes!


President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted that it was just a tax. He said ” We have taxed labour, we have taxed capital, now is the time to tax energy”. The tax is needed to balance the budget. It was supposed to be agreed on by all countries of the world so that no country was disadvantaged compared to another which did not implement the tax. Global warming, climate change, the IPCC and all the charade.

Christian Bultmann

The German link leads to the image only.
This is the link to the article.,,5069767,00.html
REPLY: Fixed thanks -A


Merci bien mes amis et bonne année.

anna v

We live in bizarre times.
It seems that a straight CO2 tax would be OK for the law makers. A head tax , we exhale 1/2 ton CO2 a year.
It seems that the ones proposing the law assume that taxation will reduce pollution, while they have the clear example in comparing US and european prices, where we pay per liter what US pays per gallon, that cars and congestion are equally bad over the two sides of the atlantic. People will pay for their car transport through the nose as they would pay for a head tax: it is a matter of life and death I suppose.
If CO2 is a pollutant, neither taxation nor, much worse, open markets will reduce it . In the first case the government gets richer in the second Al Gore et al , that is all.
Rationing might do it. But then no money is made by anybody.


I think this is the time for a rerun of the Wattswupwithat song with Al Gore.
I hope everyone realizes why national sovereignty is important. In the future a more centralized EU government would simply bypass local judiciary.


A sincere tip of the hat to some courageous and right minded French politicians! I suggest we get OUR legislators to invite the Frenchmen to testify before some hearings if our own Administration sees fit to punish us again by wasting more resources pushing for passage of any carbon tax legislation.
U.S. legislators and voters take heart.

L. Gardy LaRoche

Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras.
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes!
Aux armes citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons


J’ai Perdu…. for words.
Crack open the Australian Sparkling. Awesome.

Gregg E.

Amazing, there is some sanity in France!
I heard about this one on the news earlier today, part of the stimulus funds are going to a research project for machine generated humor. Yahoo it, plenty of info on it out there.
A $712,883 research grant to develop “machine-generated humor.” Project will design artificially intelligent “comedic performance agents”, and will “deploy them both on and off-line for the enjoyment and illumination of everyday citizens”.
If the US government isn’t wasting money on phony “global warming” research, they find plenty of other junk to blow it on.
What’s next, novel writing machines? Orwell would be so proud… or saying “See, I told you so”. How do they come up with such odd numbers? Why not simply $713,000? Looks like an auction sale price!

L. Gardy LaRoche


Vote Quimby

What’s with the little smiley face at the bottom of the page in the bottom left hand corner? I just noticed it! lol


La vérité va gagner à la fin.

I think I’m going to buy some French Brie and Champagne to celebrate.


Les français ne sont pas si bêtes que ça, surtout quand il s’agit de pognon. Bravo, la France.


Yes, thank you France. Please accept this proxy application for the majority of our Congress for special education economic sense 1A.

Très magnifique! Freedom Fries sont maintenant Carbon Tax Free, et prêt à être dégusté dans l’Amérique de nouveau!
Magnificent! Freedom Fries are now Carbon Tax Free and ready to be enjoyed in America again!


Any French legalists out there who can let us know to what extent the court’s decision was based on the law (as described in the article), and to what extent a response to broader policy concerns hidden under the legal basis for the decision?
That is, was it a black-letter law decision or was it a response to a changing of the zeitgeist covered by legal reasoning?
Forgive my cynicism about Court reasoning; I’ve watched too many courts too long to have any other response.

Claude Harvey

The worm is turning and the early frog gets the worm. Who’d have ever thought it might be the French would lead the way toward carbon sanity. The French pride themselves in staying out in front of the fashion curve. Hopefully this development means AGW will soon be passe.


Reading the title I saw The National Razor and an endless queue of well known carbon scammers. Anthony, I’m a little disappointed.


So there was a war on carbon and the French were defeated? Why is this news?
(I was going to link the albinoblacksheep link for French Military “success”, but their web site is down ATM).

Sam Lau

Anyone remember the third verse of La Marseillaise?
Amour sacré de la Patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs ! (bis)
Sous nos drapeaux que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents,
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !
Vive La France!


I reposted this on my Daily Paul Blog as a topic. The Paulies are giddy.

King of Cool

I do believe that the ETS, which was basically a carbon tax, was defeated in Australia earlier this month…Vote Quimby

It was indeed VQ. But Kevin Rudd is persisting and it will be brought before the House again in February.
Tony Abbott, new leader of the Opposition severely wounded the beast when he stood up to it and convinced the wavering members of his party to follow when it came to a Senate vote earlier this month. The Greens also voted it down because for them it did not go far enough. So PM Rudd is now caught between a rock and a hard place.
For Round 15 in February Rudd has the option of going towards the Greens but after Copenhagen that would be political suicide so it looks like that he will just try to keep it alive without losing face. This will be a very hard task even though he will have the MSM on his side beating up every extreme weather event and trying to assassinate Tony Abbott’s character.
But what has happened in France will further boost Abbott’s chances. Keep predicting snow for Paris Piers and Vive Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and Vérité!!!!!

As someone would have say, “in some sense, this is cheering news”. Only in some sense, indeed, since the decision of the Conseil Constitutionnel does not give its backing to us skeptics at all. It is even the opposite, since the “attendus” of the decision explicitely endorse the “setting up of tools allowing to significantly reduce greenhouse gases emissions in order to fight global warming”, without expressing any doubt. The main reason of the decision has nothing to do with the climate debate, it is all about the equality of the citizens in the eyes of taxes. Cela dit, je suis content quand même.


Do you realize how fast this news shot across the Atlantic without the help of Reuters and AP?


I knew “the Europeans” we’ve been hearing about in the U.S. for the last 11 yrs. allegedly hating America as a “rogue nation”, loving the Frenchman Jhonn Carrie’, etc., couldn’t be as bad as they were made out to be here, even though the French have won only one War in the last few hundred years, the French Revolution, which they also lost. Viva la France!


“There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
de Tocqueville was referring to the US at the time, but thank goodness for France’s Constitutional Council. They have, at least for a time, put a screeching halt to this madness.


Hallelujah!! I think it’s time for everyone here to get our acts together, pitch in (30m hits is enough of us to make the money thing less painful) and graciously ask the assistance of the good Lord Monkton to take the key players in all this to task (court). It’s time to get this nonsense thrown out for once and for all! Tax Shmax….it’s the damage all this alarmist bull is doing to my kids’ brains that really gets my back hairs up.
Doesn’t anyone else find this situation as absolutely fundamentally RIDICULOUS as me? I mean really! At what point did the human race get so stupid as to let an obviously bogus hypothesis get this far down the track…..If it wasn’t so absolutely ridiculous it would be hilarious… fundamental logic and a good look at the data could only leave the world population with nothing left but a very feeble case for the precautionary principle.. It’s the emperors new clothes and the boy who cried wolf all rolled into one…but for the fact that the perpetrators of this juggernaut have managed to put most of the worlds people into some sort of a trance! ‘We believe, we believe’…..
How did it ever get to this point? I’m stunned! We have blogs like WUWT that spend every day battling to justify nature…..mind boggling! It’s like one of those experiments where everyone stays in the waiting room as the smoke wafts under a door way and everyone looks at each other waiting for the first person to get out….little sheep baaah baah…
The big players need to go to court and the world needs to be told the outcome! We are causing damage to our society, our kids are growing up thinking they are going to drown and fry at the same time! It all amounts to fraud and it’s inexcusable to let this thing keep playing out the way it is.
The time has come to end this ridiculous charade. It’s time to employ the same tactics that the other side uses, but with truth and logic!
30m hits is a potentially powerful tool if we all mobilize, get our ducks in a row and help someone like Monkton to drive this thing home for once and for all.
I’m sick of having to justify logic to people who believe a man that states on national television that the earth is several million degrees just 2km from the earths surface. What a farce!

Indiana Bones

Stubborn, arrogant, self-willed, France. Vive liberté, égalité, fraternité!! It is likely that rational scientist Claude Allegre had some influence. Sarko should make him Minister du Environment tomorrow.