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France sees transaction tax as best to raise climate funds

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Jan 25, 2011
A financial transactions tax is the best way to raise funds to battle global warming, but France expects a tough fight to get an agreement during its G20 presidency, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Tuesday.

"We know it will be a real difficult battle because a number of countries are opposed, beginning with the United States," she said at a conference organised by the International Herald Tribune and France's diplomatic academy.

Under the Copenhagen climate agreement reached in December 2009, developed nations are to begin funding $100 billion (74 billion euros)a year of projects to mitigate climate change effects in developing countries from 2020.

Lagarde said looking at current deficits it is unrelistic to expect the funds to come from direct budget contributions.

"So the alternative financing is going to be an innovative financing," said the minister.

She said financial transaction tax on currency transactions is feasible as they are easily traceable, and that the small tax would hardly be felt on each transaction but as the market was big would raise large amounts.

She said France, which holds the G20 presidency this year, was open to other ideas on how to raise the $100 billion in climate change funds.

earlier related report
Obama energy, climate adviser to step down: report
Washington (AFP) Jan 24, 2011 - US President Barack Obama's top energy and climate change adviser will step down in the coming weeks, the Politico news website said Monday, citing White House officials.

The departure of Carol Browner comes as passage of major clean energy legislation appeared increasingly unlikely under the new Republican majority controlling the House of Representatives.

"She will stay on as long as necessary to ensure an orderly transition," Politico quoted a White House official as saying.

"Carol is confident that the mission of her office will remain critical to the president, and she is pleased with what will be in the (State of the Union address) and in the budget (next month) on clean energy."

The White House would not immediately comment on the report.

Browner had served as the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for eight years under former president Bill Clinton and was at the forefront of the Obama administration's response to the BP oil spill.

She had played a key role in Obama's efforts to pass wide-ranging energy legislation with a "cap-and-trade" program to restrict emissions in the world's second largest polluter before the bill died in the Senate last year.

The bill would face even greater hurdles now, with Republicans -- who say new regulations on businesses would stifle any economic recovery -- in control of the House and an enhanced presence in the Senate.



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