Climate Change: Sarkozy Announces Carbon Tax

2188844325_9e5bbd2219Today, French President Sarkozy announced the creation of a carbon tax of 17 Euros per tonne of CO2 emitted. He called it “a fiscal revolution”.

“If things don’t change, it will be your children who pay the price,” said Sarkozy. The new tax will be on oil, natural gas, and coal consumption. The carbon tax will affect both businesses and households, it is scheduled to come into effect next year. However, the taxation will not apply to electricity, which in France is largely generated by nuclear power, which does not emit greenhouse gases.

Greenpeace was quick to react to the announcement, in the view of the environmental organization the amount is not enough to push French people to make the necessary changes in their energy consumption. Greenpeace was hoping for a much higher tax of 32 Euros per tonne of CO2, and then a 5 percent a year increase to reach the benchmark of 100 Euros per tonne by 2030.

Despite the dissatisfaction of  Greenpeace, the tax is already creating a backlash for Sarkozy in his own political party, the center-right UMP. Recent opinion polls showed that about two-third of French voters oppose the carbon tax.

Finland was the first European country to introduce a carbon tax in 1990, it was then followed by Sweden and Denmark. France has the ambitious target of 75 percent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050.

A United Nations conference on climate change will take place in Denmark in December. The big issue will be to see if the 3 biggest CO2 emitters ( The US, China & India) will join Europe, and finally get serious about tackling climate change.