France To Push Coal, Carbon Taxes In Support Of Kyoto

A coal tax and a 10% increase in taxation of industrial and air transport pollution would take effect on January 1.

The French government came out fighting against industrial pollution Nov. 13, saying it would establish a domestic coal tax and push with European partners for a carbon tax on industrial goods from countries that ignore the Kyoto Protocol. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the coal tax and a 10% increase in taxation of industrial and air transport pollution would take effect on January 1.

France would present European partners with proposals early next year for a "carbon tax" on imports of industrial goods from countries that "refused to commit themselves in favor of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012," he added.

The Kyoto protocol requires industrialized countries to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases by 5.2% by 2008-2012 compared with their 1990 levels.

UN-sponsored talks are underway now in Nairobi to reshape the agreement for the period after 2012 and include rapidly developing economies not bound by the original text.

Coal would be subject to a levy of 1.19 euros per megawatt hour of energy produced, but the fuel is a minor source of energy in France where nuclear power is used to generate three-quarters of all electricity.

The government estimates that the new taxes would raise around 50 million euros (US$64 million), to be spent on actions against global warming such as fiscal incentives in favor of renewable heating sources.

On the European level, France would present EU members with "concrete proposals" in the first quarter of 2007 to tax industrial imports from countries that snub Kyoto Protocol requirements after 2012. Within the EU, Villepin said France sought to spur low-polluting forms of freight transport in environmentally sensitive regions such as the Alps, possibly via a tax on high-emission trucks (lorries).

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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