Euro-cent Wise, Euro Foolish

I hope that wasn't lost in translation!

Okay, this story is from Novosti, the Russian news agency, and probably should be taken with a deer-lick-sized block of salt:

Belgium to impose tax on barbequing to fight global warming
BRUSSELS, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - The government of Belgium's French-speaking region of Wallonia, which has a population of about 4 million, has approved a tax on barbequing, local media reported.

Experts said that between 50 and 100 grams of CO2, a so-called greenhouse gas, is emitted during barbequing. Beginning June 2007, residents of Wallonia will have to pay 20 euros for a grilling session.

The local authorities plan to monitor compliance with the new tax legislation from helicopters, whose thermal sensors will detect burning grills.

Scientists believe CO2 emissions are a major cause of global warming.
Now, the question: How much carbon dioxide will be emitted by the fleet of helicopters hovering over Wallonia, hoping to catch scofflaw grillers? I'll bet it's one hell of a lot more than the barbecue grills will be putting off! That's a hefty tax, by the way, since the current exchange rate is more than one dollar per euro.

Can you imagine what would happen if some American state tried pulling a similar stunt? The offending officials would no doubt be burned in effigy, although we don't know what kind of carbon tax will be required to do that in the future!