The energy revolution has taken deep roots in the French middle class, public life in the French capital and French provinces has come to a halt
As previously illuded to, France has seen renewed unrest today in response to the French governments attempt to impose a fuel tax on its citizenry. We all have seen the pictures of Paris burning, and the unrest that spread into the wealthy Parisian suburbs, the attention-grapping disfigurement of Marianne, the picturesque French icon depicted on the Arc de Triomphe. The riots spread from the middle class, which would have been severely effected by this new tax, eventually the riots have spread and encompassed university students, farmers and workers more generally. It is almost as if they spread from the same source, a single branch of a tree.
Peak Oil: It is hard to identify a period in recent French history, which compares in terms of upheaval to the public order
For readers of this blog this should not come as a surprise, given that energy will play an ever greater role in citizens’ lives. As energy costs go up due to peak oil and an the rapid decline of existing oil supplies that are easy to extract, there will be more resistence by the public to pay for petroleum. The fuel tax will not solve this problem for the protesters, as much I admire the cause they stand for, as the underlying geological reality of dwindling oil supplies will force reality upon them.
One can only but hope that the French government comes to its senses and prepares the French populace for the new reality of living with less, in a manner accordant with the availability of natural resources in Europe and elsewhere.
There is a lively debate in France about what the energy revolution really costs us and whether we are prepared to pay the price for it.
We will have to wait and see what the wave of protests brings, if the protesters demands will be fruitful or if they are evanescent.