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French government panel recommends steep carbon tax for 2010

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-03

A report on taxation of carbon-based emissions in France is set to considered by the government. According to leaked details, the report recommends a charge of 32 euros for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in 2010, rising to 100 euros in 2030.

REUTERS - France should aim to introduce a carbon tax by 2010 although the complexity of the scheme means a later date might be more realistic, the head of a panel advising the government on the issue said on Tuesday.
 
The panel's recommendations will be officially handed to the government on Tuesday but details have already been leaked in the French press.
 
Under the plan, France would charge 32 euros ($46) for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in 2010 and lift the levy to 100 euros per tonne in 2030, according to press reports.
 
This would add between 7 and 8 cents or around 15 percent to the cost of a litre of fuel and has triggered complaints among those, such as farmers and fishermen, who say they will be penalised by the plan.
 
"We haven't received any objections in principle to the tax but there will be lots of fighting over the details of course," the panel's head Michel Rocard said on France Info radio.
 
"The best would be for it to be ready in 2010 but it's true that all these details ... are complicated," Rocard, a former Socialist prime minister, said in a later appearance on Europe 1 radio. "I don't know if we will be ready in 2010."
 
The extra cost per household could be 300 euros a year and it would bring just over 8 billion euros into the state budget of which 4.3 billion euros would come from households, according to press reports.
 
The debate over the tax focuses on how to compensate low income households, those who use lots of fuel in their work or those who work at night before public transport is running.

"There are whole jobs, farming, fishing and taxi drivers where we need to find ways to make the jobs economically possible in spite of this tax," Rocard said.

"This tax has to change behaviour but it must not bleed people to death."
 
Rocard also wants to make sure that businesses do not lose their competitive edge.
 
"The carbon tax should not be an umpteenth tax used for filling up the state coffers," the small business union, the CGPME, said in a statement.
 
"For it to be accepted by households and companies ... it must be compensated by an equivalent fall in taxes."
 
Sweden, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, will soon present an EU-wide carbon tax plan.
 
Sweden, Denmark and Norway already have carbon taxes in place and China has been studying the idea.

Date created : 2009-07-28

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