Tags: tax | france | carbon | scuttle

French Panel Scuttles Proposed Carbon Tax

Wednesday, 30 Dec 2009 10:21 AM


BRUSSELS — France’s Constitutional Council has rejected a tax on carbon emissions strongly backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy that was to take effect Friday. But his ruling conservative party said the measure would be redrafted so it could be passed into law next year.

The council ruled late Tuesday that the bill contained too many exemptions for polluters, broke with past practices and threatened to make tax collection unfair.

The ruling is a blow to Mr. Sarkozy, who has sought to burnish his green credentials by holding international talks next year to seek agreement on emission cuts following the Copenhagen climate conference. Environmental groups have said they expect the talks to be held in Paris.

The Copenhagen conference, which ended without a timetable to reach a binding global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, represented a humiliation for European Union leaders seeking to lead global efforts to tackle climate change.

Mr. Sarkozy said he strongly favored the tax, scheduled to go into force on the first day of the new year, as a way to shift France onto a low-carbon path and modify the way the state collects revenue.

The tax was set at €17 for each ton of carbon dioxide.

Members of opposition Socialist party, many of whom said the tax would damage citizens’ purchasing power, said the defeat was personal one for Mr. Sarkozy because he had cultivated an image of aggressively on fighting emissions on the international stage but was unable to put in place workable policies at home.

Members of the French Green party said the defeat would force the government to come forward with a bill that would be more effective in helping to curb France’s contribution to global warming.

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