Nicolas Sarkozy Threatens Carbon Tax on US Goods if Trump Cancels Paris Climate Agreement

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also a current presidential candidate, isn’t happy about Donald Trump’s threat to scrap the Paris climate accord and told TF1 television on Sunday,

“Donald Trump has said – we’ll see if he keeps this promise – that he won’t respect the conclusions of the Paris climate agreement.

“Well, I will demand that Europe put in place a carbon tax at its border, a tax of 1-3 per cent, for all products coming from the United States, if the United States doesn’t apply environmental rules that we are imposing on our companies.”

Actions have consequences, even for men as in love with themselves and their own power as Trump. No doubt Trump will respond by saying nobody likes Sarkozy anyway, but that won’t give Trump the power to unilaterally reorder our shared reality.

Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, belongs to the centre-right Republicans party (formerly the Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP), and despite his threat, has himself been sounding a lot like Trump lately.

He has had a long if controversial career, even generating a mockingly hilarious meme #sarkozywasthere. What is remarkable about this latest statement is that recently, Sarkozy went on record as saying climate change isn’t caused by man.

In September, he told business leaders, who love hearing this sort of thing, that,

“Climate has been changing for four billion years. Sahara has become a desert, it isn’t because of industry. You need to be as arrogant as men are to believe we changed the climate.”

Well, there is no lack of arrogance to go around on the world stage. Whether this means Sarkozy is suddenly thinking industry does contribute to climate change is unknown.

This latest brouhaha comes at a time when, as the Independent reminds us, “Climate negotiators are meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, this week to try to agree on how the Paris Agreement will be implemented.”

Grist reminds us that,

“While there is a four-year waiting period to formally pull out of the Paris accord, Trump can refuse to adhere to President Obama’s pledge to cut emissions to 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, as well as decline to contribute to global climate funds or attend United Nations climate meetings.”

And Sarkozy is reminding Trump that while the other 195 nations to sign on to the Paris accord cannot force the United States to do anything, they can punish them for withdrawing from the deal.

Trump, of course, is looking toward defanging if not eliminating outright the Environmental Protection Agency, placing the fossil fuel industry’s Forrest Lucas in charge of the Department of the Interior and climate change “skeptic” Myron Ebell as head of the US Center for Energy and Environment.

Which is interesting, because Trump is building a sea wall around his Scottish golf course to protect it from rising seas that, officially, at least, aren’t rising at all.

Photo: White House blog