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20 April 2010

EU climate chief calls for energy tax

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The European Union's top climate official called for an energy tax to boost the bloc's climate protection efforts.

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told Monday's Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that "energy taxes are among the instruments we should use for climate protection in the EU, because that's how energy consumption is reduced."

Denmark's Hedegaard, who led the U.N. climate negotiations in Copenhagen last year, said instead of imposing high work-related taxes, which threaten European companies competing with foreign firms "it would be much smarter to install a system that includes a top tax rate for areas threatening the common good, such as a excessive energy consumption."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to introduce a carbon emissions tax as part of a plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change and become less dependent on fuel imports.

Drafted as a tax on transport and household fuels, the measure was due to come into effect this year but was scrapped by Sarkozy last month after significant headwind for his reform plans.

Paris said it would postpone the tax in order not to damage French companies' competitiveness because other European nations aren't planning a similar tax.

France and Italy last week pressed the EU to consider a carbon tax on imports from countries who are not doing enough to stop climate change.


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