Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Paris withdraws plans for carbon tax on coal

Pressure from the miners’ and energy workers’ union CGT forced the French government to back down on extending the carbon tax to coal-fired power stations. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports. French governments have always struggled to tax emissions from coal. In 2009, François Fillon had to abandon the idea after his plans were struck down by the Constitutional Council. This time, the plan has been sunk by the country’s biggest union of miners and energy workers. On 25 April, President François Hollande announced the introduction of a minimum quota price for greenhouse gas emissions from combustion power stations. “This price will give more visibility to investors and promote the use of gas over coal for the electricity sector,” Hollande said. After an aggressive lobbying campaign by the energy company Engie, the measure was restricted to the country’s four remaining coal-fired power stations. Two are operated by EDF, in Le Havre and Cordemais, and two by Uniper (formerly E.ON), in Gardanne and Saint-Avold. The tax was supposed to be introduced as part of France’s 2017 budget. Gérard Mestrallet, the former boss of Engie, is a member of the committee tasked with working on the carbon price. But this will not happen as planned. Overnight from Thursday to Friday (20-21 October) the Secretary of State for the Budget, Christian Eckert, removed the amendment to introduce the carbon tax, which had already been approved by the French parliament’s sustainable development committee...more

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