Let me try again

Watts up With That reports that the French have ruled a proposed carbon tax scheduled to start on Jan 1, 2010 to be unconstitutional. Here are more details:

Here’s a Deustch-Welle news article on the reversal.

France’s Constitutional Council says the country’s proposed carbon tax is illegal. This is a severe blow to French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to fight climate change.

France’s Constitutional Council has struck down a carbon tax that was planned to take effect on January 1st. The council, which ensures the constitutionality of French legislation, said too many polluters were exempted in the measure and the tax burden was not fairly distributed.

It was estimated that 93 percent of industrial emissions outside of fuel use, including the emissions of more than 1,000 of France’s top polluting industrial sites, would be exempt from the tax, which would have charged 17 euros per ton of emitted carbon dioxide.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has argued the tax is necessary to combat climate change and reduce the country’s dependence on oil.

However, the council’s ruling is a severe blow to both Sarkozy’s environmental plan as well as France’s budget for 2010. The government now has to find a way to come up with about 4.1 billion euros in revenue that was expected from the tax.


The tax appears to have been found defective on narrow grounds and does not on the face of it appear to be a rejection the ideas on which the tax is based. The Guardian reports that its advocates have vowed to try again. The socialists chortled in glee, not at the defeat of the carbon tax, but Sarkozy’s failure to pass it.

Scrambling to salvage a project which the President had vigorously defended against criticism from opposition politicians, green groups and members of his own party, the government insisted today the carbon tax had not been put off for good. “It is a tough fight, but a worthwhile one,” said spokesman Luc Chatel. Ministers promised a revised text within weeks.

However, there was little the government could do to distract from the humiliation of having a much-trailed reform batted back by the sages of the august constitutional council.

Nor will the hopes of a new and improved plan do much to calm heightening worries over revenue. Even if a revised proposal is made, the tax – which was expected to raise €1.5bn (£1.34bn) during 2010 – will take weeks to reach parliament again and even longer to start boosting state coffers.

The opposition Socialist party made no secret of their glee at seeing the right-wing president fall at the final hurdle of his marathon battle to introduce a tax which was opposed by two-thirds of the public.

Maybe it’s all about money. And it does suggest the fatal equation that must never be drawn in the public’s mind. AGW=Tax.


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