France considers launching carbon tax

29th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

The carbon tax, spear-headed by former Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard, has been contested by trade unions and consumers’ associations as it would increase expenditure for households.

Paris – France's government was set to consider taxing carbon emissions as part of a drive to fight global warming, after experts handed in a report on the issue on Tuesday.

The government-named panel headed by former Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard recommended that the tax be paid "by everybody without exception and exemption".

Trade unions and consumers' associations have already said they oppose any new taxes for French households.

"The government will raise several billion euros from consumers, give them back a part and keep a substantial part for its general budget, or to lower the business tax," the UFC-Que Choisir consumers' lobby group warned.

The new tax "must not increase inequalities," said the CGT union.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to have the final word on Rocard's recommendations, possibly before the end of the year. The report was handed to Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo and Economy Minister Christine Lagarde.

Consultations before Sarkozy's final decision are to be held with the ministries and economic sectors most concerned by the new tax, junior environment minister Chantal Jouanno said.

The prospective carbon tax on fossil fuels -- oil, gas and coal -- is aimed at steering consumers and business away from energy-hungry goods and services.

Under Rocard's recommendations, leaked in Les Echos business daily last week and confirmed to AFP, France would bill EUR 32 for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in 2010, rising to EUR 100 per tonne in 2030.

In practice the levy -- intended to come into force from 2010 -- would add EUR 0.077 to the cost of one litre of unleaded fuel and EUR 0.085 to a litre of diesel.

Household gas and fuel heating costs would rise by between EUR 60 and 170 per year, depending on the type of building and method used, according to the French agency for development and energy control.

Four European countries -- Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Britain -- have so far adopted similar measures to curb consumption of energy-hungry products.

The French climate contribution is separate from a proposal floated by Sarkozy in March for a carbon tax on imports from countries which have lower environmental standards than France.

AFP / Expatica

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