Protesting carbon taxes with the Gilets Jaunes

Reflections on CFACT’s Katowice delegation coverage of Yellow Vests protest in Marseilles

Craig Rucker

The Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) represent a broad cross section of French rural, working and middle classes. They are butchers, bakers and automobile makers. They are the folks who grow the food, drive the trucks, build the buildings and fix what breaks. They are France. They have had enough.

For weeks, literally millions of them have been protesting in the streets of Paris and other French cities.

A few days ago, the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) used the weekend break at COP-24, the UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, to do some research in France. After interviewing many Gilets Jaunes and observing their demonstrations, we can report that the streets belong not to the government, nor to the police, but to the men, women and children in the yellow vests. And contrary to what you may have seen in the media, in their hearts the police are with the protestors.

In fact, the demonstrators are the friends, neighbors and families of the police arrayed against them. Except in extreme cases, the police are standing aside and leaving the Gilet Jaunes in charge.

In Marseille, hundreds of Yellow Vests advanced along the waterfront. As CFACT watched, joined, covered and photographed the march, two armored cars approached from the opposite direction.

In a scene recalling the famous standoff between a protester and tank in Tiananmen Square, a lone woman ran forward and confronted the armored cars, waving a yellow kerchief that coordinated smartly with her yellow vest. The Berliet VXB-170 twelve ton behemoths continued their advance.

The woman stood her ground. With the approaching force just feet away, she threw wide her arms and defied them. For a moment, one brave heroine slowed the power of the state to a crawl. Then a police officer in full riot gear swept her aside, and a platoon of police marched onto the scene. Undaunted, the protestors continued until the police gave way.

(Go here to see Adam Houser’s photographs and video of the protests and this courageous modern day “Marianne” leading the people to liberty.)

There’s a lot of misinformation out there. We’ve all seen images from Paris and other cities of masked hooligans in yellow vests smashing windows and setting fires. Nearly all of this violence has come from radical leftists who never miss a chance to riot and destroy.

CFACT encountered these same thugs three years ago in Paris during UN COP-21, well before anyone thought to don a yellow vest. The real Gilets Jaunes are upset that their president and the media are using the violent thugs to smear them. Average French observers know the protesters. They get it.

Will the French government succeed in smearing the earnest, nonviolent people in the yellow vests elsewhere around the world? Doubtful But just about everyone with an agenda is trying to horn in. This includes climate campaigners who are trying to claim the Gilets Jaunes as their own. They’ve posed in yellow vests for the media during carefully staged climate events. Don’t buy it for a second.

We spoke with a wide assortment of protesters and asked them point blank, What do you think about climate taxes? “They are BULL SHIT” is among the more genteel exclamations our question engendered. Here are the straight facts.

To repeat, the Gilets Jaunes represent a broad cross section of the French working and middle classes. They are butchers, bakers and automobile makers. They are the folks who grow the food, drive the trucks, build the buildings, police the cities, and fix what breaks. They are France. They are fed up.

The Gilets Jaunes took over a large toll station on the road to Marseilles. CFACT was there. They narrowed the lanes, but allowed traffic to pass. Toll collectors and police left them completely in charge. The protestors did not allow motorists to pay the toll. They are prepared to starve Leviathan.

France, like many European nations, has gone much further down the UN climate road than Americans have. French citizens are already feeling the pain that Californians are feeling – and that so many other Americans have waiting for them if their local, state or federal ruling classes have their way.

Climate taxes on fuel to pay for inefficient, variable wind and solar power and other climate fantasies are wasteful job killers, and the folks in the yellow vests know it. They refuse to redistribute more of what they earn through their long, hard labor … in the name of global warming.

They realize that climate taxes are regressive, and resent the elites who have the incomes to take confiscatory taxes in stride.

President Macron had vowed to suppress and outlast the protestors, showing he had no idea what was really fueling their anger and frustration. He has no friends among them – and no compassion. “We have to tax fossil fuels more in order to fund our investments in renewable energy,” he declared.

Then, as the mass protests grew, he suspended the hated climate tax for six months – then finally capitulated and changed course 180 degrees, dropping the plan altogether, at least for now.

The protesters see right through this. In Marseilles their battle cry was, “We stay on our course.”

On Saturday, December 8, over 120,000 nice, normal, fed-up French citizens again took to the streets in every corner of their country. President Macron deployed 89,000 police and 80 of those armored cars to stop them. He failed.

Meanwhile, enabled and encouraged by UN and IPCC authorities, intolerant climate activists harassed and shouted down US and CFACT delegations that were simply trying to present a bit of climate realism in Katowice. It’s time to bring that charade, and funding for it, to an end, as well.

Viva la Revolucion! And may it spread to every country.

“Dangerous manmade climate change” is not happening. Countries from Africa to Asia to Europe and beyond are building coal- and gas-fired power plants to ensure affordable, reliable power, and lift billions out of poverty – while a few nations shut down their reliable power plants and ban drilling.

Poor families and countries should not be punished with taxes and regulations imposed in misguided efforts to control Earth’s climate and weather.

Craig Rucker is president of CFACT, the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, a free market think tank devoted to sound science for both people and planet.

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Jimmy Haigh
December 13, 2018 2:10 pm

This is real “resistance”…

Steven J Hill
December 13, 2018 2:12 pm

The globalist are on the run…..people are rejecting it in masses.

Reply to  Steven J Hill
December 13, 2018 10:08 pm

In France and one or two countries that bound it, yes. The globalists are not on the run. President Trump will ultimately go from office and if the Democratic party rules, reality will return.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Ozonebust
December 14, 2018 3:57 am

Ozonebust – December 13, 2018 at 10:08 pm

President Trump will ultimately go from office and if the Democratic party rules, reality will return.

After the Democrat’s desired “reality” returns, …… I am positive that they will be accusing Donald Trump and Nicolás Maduro of the gawd awful conditions in America that the Democrats are directly responsible for that will be far worse than the following:

Venezuela’s economy is in freefall. Hyperinflation, power cuts, and food and medicine shortages are driving millions of Venezuelans out of the country. Many are blaming President Nicolás Maduro and his government for the dire state the nation is in.

Reply to  Ozonebust
December 14, 2018 10:38 am

Dead wrong, Ozonebust. This is looking more and more like 1958 and the fall of the 4th Republic, or like the Black Flags protest in 1968 when President De Gaulle was chased from office. In all these cases and a host of others in the 19th century, an arrogant elitist leader was chased out of office in France by the outrage of les petits bourgeoisie. The desertion of the government by the ambulance drivers and the overt sympathy of the rank and file of the police are highly indicative.

Has it escaped your notice that it’s spreading to the Benelux nations? Has it escaped your notice that COP 24 in Katowice is disintegrating over the Paris Agreement? Has it escaped your notice that Angela Merkel as a politician is a dead woman walking after the electoral disaster in Hesse? Has it escaped your notice that Viktor Orban is probably the most popular politician in Europe with his massive electoral base? Has it escaped your notice at at least half of Canada is in firm opposition to carbon taxes? Has it escaped your notice that Jean-Claude Junckers term in office expires in early 2019?

william matlack
Reply to  cgh
December 14, 2018 12:57 pm

RE; At least half of Canada is in firm opposition to carbon taxes. The problem as i see it is that 99% of the media is with the alarmists. Last sunday morning on ctv Question Period hosted by Evan Solomon with regulars Tonda MAC Charles and Craig Oliver alongside all sat silently as a repoter from APTV-Aboriginal Peoples Television Network claimed that cities up in Nunauit are warming three degrees a year. Nobody questioned this claim. Guess they saw nothing wrong with that statement. Very telling.

Reply to  william matlack
December 15, 2018 2:52 pm

William, agreed. What is also true is the absolute inability of the media to deal with science on any basis. It’s a media that has a long track record of being taken in by outright lies and hoaxes (see the Wakefield inoculation hoax).

Even within their own supposed fields of expertise, they’re dunces. How many of them predicted that Hillary was guaranteed to win in 2016? ALL of them.

Russ R.
December 13, 2018 2:13 pm

“We have to tax fossil fuels more in order to fund our investments in renewable energy,” he declared.

“We have to tax what you want, because it works, in order to force you to use what you don’t want, because it doesn’t work”.

December 13, 2018 2:22 pm

They are raising taxes on something that people have to have..and it’s not going to make them use less of it…they can’t

December 13, 2018 2:37 pm

The people have taken notice that they are the target of the climate change scam. Stay tuned, more to come.

December 13, 2018 2:55 pm

Dear Santa: Could I have a yellow knitted woolly pulley vest for Christmas, Just like the Gilet Jaune ones.? Don’t fancy a real one as I need to keep warm and I might get confused with a telecom repair operative or some such.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Alasdair
December 13, 2018 9:47 pm

I bought my yellow jacket yesterday. I want to start a yellow jacket movement in Canada. Get in touch with me on Twitter if you live in Canada.

December 13, 2018 3:00 pm

Thanks for the factual update. We need those and are unlikely to get them from the MSM.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 13, 2018 3:27 pm

I have been wearing my yellow vest for a couple of days now, to the store, the coffee shop, everywhere I go. Nobody has asked about it, they probably think I am a road worker on break.

R Shearer
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 13, 2018 3:55 pm

It’s hard to get too upset at fuel prices when they’re about the same or cheaper than bottled water. The price of regular gasoline here in Colorado is under $2.00/gal at Sam’s and Costco’s. Sam’s has regular for $1.92.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  R Shearer
December 13, 2018 3:58 pm

Yeah, I get that. But I would think that somebody would be aware of what’s going on in France.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 13, 2018 4:18 pm

You will be surprise how many people are totally unaware of what happens in the world. If it’s not on the news or social media, it’s not happening.

R Shearer
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 13, 2018 5:04 pm

Maybe you should send your vest to California.

Reply to  R Shearer
December 13, 2018 4:14 pm

$1.92 in Colorado, $3.59 in California. That’s crazy.

R Shearer
Reply to  justadumbengineer
December 13, 2018 5:07 pm

There are places in TX, OK, etc. where gasoline is half the price of CA’s.

Reply to  justadumbengineer
December 14, 2018 8:00 am

€1.60 in France, for a litre. So around $7 for a gallon. The price hike hit diesel the most. Diesel that was heavily pushed in France for the last 20 years.

Cliff Hilton
Reply to  justadumbengineer
December 14, 2018 2:11 pm

$1.83 (cash), Beaumont Texas. As of this morning.

Reply to  R Shearer
December 13, 2018 4:23 pm

Only humans are silly enough to buy water in a bottle. If donuts fell from the sky too, I wouldn’t buy them in a box.

Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
December 13, 2018 7:03 pm

If donuts fell from the sky, I might be more concerned as to what was dropping them.

Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
December 16, 2018 5:20 am

There are other species who buy and sell stuff?

And besides, you can buy oxygen tanks too. Isn’t that even more ridiculous?

Dr. Wade Smith
Reply to  R Shearer
December 13, 2018 4:58 pm

You can do without bottled water. Try doing without gasoline/diesel in you life.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  R Shearer
December 13, 2018 9:49 pm

In Canada we pay more and when carbon taxes come in 3 weeks it will be more every year for next 4 years. We have had enough of Trudeau and his carbon taxes.

mike the morlock
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 13, 2018 6:58 pm

Vive La France, write that on your vest.


Tom in Florida
Reply to  mike the morlock
December 14, 2018 7:34 am

Viva the Resistance would be more accurate.

Frank DiMeglio
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 14, 2018 6:38 pm


Thoughts are INVISIBLE. The ability of THOUGHT to DESCRIBE OR RECONFIGURE sensory experience is ULTIMATELY dependent upon the extent to which thought is SIMILAR to sensory experience. SO, we are in a MIDDLE DISTANCE in/of SPACE that is ELECTROMAGNETIC/GRAVITATIONAL IN BALANCE; AS this SPACE is BETWEEN what is THE SUN and THE SPEED OF LIGHT (c, a POINT). Therefore, this SPACE is invisible AND VISIBLE IN BALANCE in conjunction WITH both F=ma AND E=mc2 AS what is the BALANCED ELECTROMAGNETIC/GRAVITATIONAL MIDDLE DISTANCE in/of SPACE; AS gravity AND ELECTROMAGNETISM/energy are linked AND BALANCED IN AND OUT of SPACE AND TIME; AS ELECTROMAGNETISM/ENERGY IS GRAVITY. This necessarily involves what is possible/potential AND actual IN BALANCE. ELECTROMAGNETISM/ENERGY IS GRAVITY. This is proven by F=ma AND E=mc2. Look down at what is the FULLY VISIBLE EARTH/GROUND. ACCORDINGLY, gravity/acceleration involves BALANCED inertia/INERTIAL RESISTANCE; AS GRAVITY IS ELECTROMAGNETISM/ENERGY. THEREFORE, a given PLANET (including THE EARTH) sweeps out equal areas in equal times; AND this is THEN consistent WITH F=ma, E=mc2, AND what is perpetual motion; AS ELECTROMAGNETISM/ENERGY IS GRAVITY. GREAT !!! (NOW, notice ALSO that the stars AND planets appear as POINTS in the night sky.) A PHOTON may be placed at the center of THE SUN (as a POINT, of course), as the reduction of SPACE is offset by (or BALANCED with) the SPEED OF LIGHT; AS ELECTROMAGNETISM/ENERGY IS GRAVITY. Great. GRAVITATIONAL FORCE/ENERGY is proportional to (or BALANCED with/as) inertia/INERTIAL RESISTANCE, AS GRAVITY IS ELECTROMAGNETISM/ENERGY. GREAT !!!!


ELECTROMAGNETISM/energy is gravity. This is proven by F=ma AND E=mc2. Accordingly, gravity/acceleration involves balanced inertia/inertial resistance; as ELECTROMAGNETISM/energy is gravity. “Mass”/energy involves balanced inertia/inertial resistance consistent with/as what is balanced ELECTROMAGNETIC/GRAVITATIONAL force/energy, as electromagnetism/energy is gravity. Gravity IS electromagnetism/energy. That objects fall at the same rate (neglecting air resistance, of course) PROVES that ELECTROMAGNETISM/energy is gravity. Think about it. GREAT !!!!!

Very importantly, outer “space” involves full inertia; AND it is fully invisible AND black.

The INTEGRATED EXTENSIVENESS of THOUGHT (AND description) is improved in the truly superior mind. The ultimate UNIFICATION of physics/physical experience combines, BALANCES, and includes opposites. Great.

By Frank DiMeglio

Dave N
December 13, 2018 3:40 pm

Reminds me of Fight Club:

“We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not… f*** with us”

Reply to  Dave N
December 13, 2018 4:31 pm

Rule 1 of Fight Club..


December 13, 2018 3:45 pm

Germany is certainly very nervous about the movement as they have groups who have been similarly affected.

December 13, 2018 3:59 pm

an old friend said to me once…

pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered. I guess the tax hogs pushed it too far.

December 13, 2018 4:07 pm

Climate leaders China once again show, well…leadership, I suppose.

Reply to  Charlie
December 14, 2018 1:05 am

They showed plenty of leadership at COP24 in getting rid of all human rights provisions. It will be interesting to see if they kill it off even from the preamble.

Bruce Cobb
December 13, 2018 4:10 pm

Have they claimed that the gilets jaunes movement is oil-funded yet?

Rich Davis
December 13, 2018 4:27 pm

Viva la revolucion?

December 13, 2018 4:29 pm

I couldn’t stand wearing a yellow vest for any reason, knowing the workplace misery inflicted on everyone through so-called “Health and Safety” (an independent business that has no right to issue fines). But against this $$Climate Change™©®$$ fr@ud, I’d wear one to bed, probably even to my grave.

Jake J
December 13, 2018 5:33 pm

We need someone to start selling “yellow vest” magnets for our vehicles here in this country, patterned after those yellow ribbons we saw after 9/11.

Joel O'Bryan
December 13, 2018 5:49 pm

WSJ has an article today on how Cali’s power consumers are going to get shafted even more by incompetent and green policies. The PG&E and SoCalEdison are using the recent fires as an excuse for the rate hike they wanted anyway. Still not as bad as New Yorkers getting screwed though by GreenLiberals who don’t like affordable energy.

Largest investor-owned utilities
Worst 10


Consolidated Edison NY 22.62
Pacific Gas & Electric CA 20.06
Southern California Edison CA 14.91
Public Service Elec & Gas NJ 14.17
Commonwealth Edison IL 11.52
DTE Electric Company MI 11.31
Florida Power & Light FL 10.11
Georgia Power GA 9.39
Virginia Electric & Power VA 8.94
Duke Energy Carolinas 8.20

Cal’s PG&E has the second-highest power prices among America’s 10 largest investor-owned utilities. PG&E asked state regulators on Thursday to approve a plan to sharply increase revenues it seeks from customers over a three-year period, with a hike of 12%, or more than $1 billion, in 2020, growing to 24% by 2022. The company is currently authorized to seek $8.5 billion next year.

These PG&E increases would put NorCal far into the lead on US electric rates.

Yellow Vests won’t do any good.

December 13, 2018 6:02 pm

I think if you asked most of the French protesters, they would tell you they are not so much mad about the tax as the idea that they are the ones being asked to pay it. In other words, if you want to tax someone, then tax the wealthy.

Reply to  Tom
December 13, 2018 9:18 pm
December 13, 2018 8:45 pm

“We have to tax fossil fuels more in order to fund our investments in renewable energy”

(Nothing at all to do with the deficit from immigration shouldered by the taxpayers of 26.19 billion euros I guess).

Coeur de Lion
December 14, 2018 1:02 am

For our parish magazine I’ve been studying the Peasants Revolt of 1381. Peasants never win. Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and the Rev Ball ended up with their heads on pikes. Even the famous French Revolution ended with a self-created Emperor and the return of the Bourbon dynasty. We are all doomed

John Endicott
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
December 14, 2018 6:11 am

True, but for while there it wasn’t so great for the elites whose heads ended up in baskets at the foot of madam guillotine.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
December 14, 2018 7:24 am

Study the totally unexpected success of the American Revolution, just before the Paris one modeled on it. Britain made sure with 3 terrorists, well known, that the US win would never happen in Europe. Lafayette, the hero of the key battle Yorktown knew this. Britain tried again in 1812 – Trump reminded Trudeau of the burning of the Executive Mansion.

Still, Schiller did say a Great Moment met a little people in 1789.

The fight in the US is a continuation of 1783, real hardball. Every nasty trick in the book is being pulled out. Trump is naturally on the side of the Gilets Jaunes. He is surrounded by the swamp.

December 14, 2018 2:12 am

It’s just the beginning!
When the @&!!# French government pushed through a change to the speed limit in summer 2018, from the crawl of 90km/h to a hair tearing 80km/h on all RN roads, then DOUBLED the number of flash cameras in 2 years, then doubled the number of speeding fines since summer 2018, people who use those roads got it right where it hurts…

Try being a biker! It’s awful.
Before long they’ll be introducing radar on skiers at this rate.

All of the rural French need a driving licence living in the countryside, but the speeding gestapo got so active, ordinary people took the hatchet to the cameras in a few week knocking out nearly 1000 of the hated signs of government interference & oppression on the false and lying basis of “safety” init!

You can’t even go 135km/h on a french autoroute without yet another camera ready to flash you there, while paying an extra 20% in peage since 2017, and you get caught at 160km/h+ and it will be murder.

Go to Germany, wazz down an autobahn at 235km/h, free of charge for now, and it’s no criminal offence. Let’s get rid of all the double standards and hypocrisy.

GOOD FOR THE FRENCH, burn them all!
destroy the damn things en masse, strip them all out, and bring back some sense of social justice to France, just like the Bretons did to kill the Eco-Tax under Hollande.

Steve O
December 14, 2018 4:13 am

Having misjudged the protests from the beginning, Macron has stayed consistent in mishandling them now. What if he’d have taken the honest approach?

“Money that we spend has to eventually be raised through taxes. If you don’t want to raise taxes, where do you want to cut spending?”

Reply to  Steve O
December 14, 2018 5:13 am

“.. where do you want to cut spending?”

On grabbermint.

John Endicott
Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
December 14, 2018 6:13 am

The problem is a lot of the populace depends on the “free” stuff that grabbermint gives them. They don’t want that cut.

Russ R.
Reply to  Steve O
December 14, 2018 6:53 am

It looks like the “warming” has stalled, and most likely is an artifact of warmer nights and warmer winters in cold climates. So claims of “damage done” by third world countries is not based in fact, and is just another chance to gouge the productive work force to reward the non productive work force.
This from the COP $$, would be a good place to cut spending:

“Developing countries have been promised billions of dollars (euros) in aid, loans and other financial support to help them reduce their emissions and adapt to inevitable changes in the world’s climate.
Some are also demanding money to make up for the damage already caused by global warming, arguing that rich industrial nations are to blame for most of the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases humans have pumped into the atmosphere.”

December 14, 2018 5:14 am

“honest approach” you are jesting?
Since when did becoming president of France ever involve else but dishonesty, deceit & deception?
Macron – Mr Jupiter always was a ball of hot air, much like the numpty that preceded him.

Misjudged the protests?
You have to be joking, since he lost his minder (Benalla…who was impersonating a police officer while beating up two protesters), the writing has been very much on the wall, and a crisis clearly coming.

Any guy is just a fool, when he can’t read the signs and he is just another silly immature one at that.

The mere fact he talks up France constantly on the back of his NPP & corrupt African oil state base, then virtue signals constantly when dealing with anything like the crazy lunatic plans to put solar panels in roads, haggle the USA, over the scam and scare Paris pseudo “agreement”, hassles the British about leaving the EU (to punish them) or put his own meat farming crisis on the backburner, all shows he should never have been there in the first place.

The guy is a liability, to himself and the whole reputation of France, never mind facilitating the now inevitable lurch to the right and populism which is inevitably about to sweep him into the dustbin of history.

John Bell
December 14, 2018 7:31 am

I figured we would reach a real tipping point, the backlash has begun.

December 14, 2018 10:19 am

How many more weekends of protest will it take to drain their police budgets? At some point they will need to deputize the green vests and pay them overtime for all the effort.

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