France to fight industrial polluters with coal tax

13th November 2006, Comments 1 comment

PARIS, Nov 13, 2006 (AFP) - The French government came out fighting against industrial pollution Monday, 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.

PARIS, Nov 13, 2006 (AFP) - The French government came out fighting against industrial pollution Monday, 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-percent 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.

Villepin outlined the measures following a French ministerial meeting on sustainable development.

The Kyoto protocol requires industrialised countries to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent 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.

In remarks on the French coal and industrial pollution taxes, Villepin said: "We have decided to reinforce the principle of 'polluter-payer'.

"We are creating a tax on coal and are raising taxes on industrial pollution and wastes by 10 percent."

Industrial groups that already benefit from environmental certifications would not be concerned, however.

Coal would be subject to a levy of EUR 1.19 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 EUR 50 million, to be spent on actions against global warming such as fiscal incentives in favor of renewable heating sources.

Taxes on air transport pollution would pay for sound-proofing of housing located near airports.

Villepin also said he wanted to study the possibility of charging a fee for vehicles that circulate in the center of major cities, such as London's congestion charge that took effect in February 2003.

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.

"Europe must use all its weight" to counter what Villepin termed "environmental dumping".

Referring to the talks taking place in Kenya, the French premier added: "The difficulty of negotiations in Nairobi shows that certain countries could be tempted to refuse to commit themselves to fresh efforts after 2012."

Within the European Union, 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).

Europe's innovative carbon emissions trading scheme could also be extended to cover the transport of goods, the French premier suggested.

The French measures were meant to "lay the foundation for an effective framework of ecology taxes", he added.

With the development of eco-friendly technologies, Villepin continued, "we now have a valid argument to convince our partners that the environment is not just a constraint but also a wonderful opportunity for economic development".

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

1 Comment To This Article

  • coalportal posted:

    on 20th November 2011, 08:43:00 - Reply

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