Paris (AFP) Sept 2, 2009
France will roll out a carbon tax on fuel in 2010, starting at 14 euros (20 dollars) per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in an interview to be published Thursday.
Championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, the new tax on transport and household fuel is part of France's drive to wean consumers off polluting energies and slash global warming emissions.
"We have decided to apply this tax progressively. Starting with the market price of carbon, or 14 euros," Fillon told Le Figaro Magazine weekly.
"We will then put in place an independent committee charged with measuring the effects of the policy and proposing adjustments."
France's Socialist opposition has warned against penalising low-income families with a flat levy on fuel, while critics in Sarkozy's camp fear any new tax is political suicide in the current economic climate.
In practice a 14-euro carbon tax would add 0.033 euros (0.47 dollars) to the cost of one litre of unleaded fuel, based on previous government estimates.
Household heating costs would rise by between 25 and 75 euros per year, depending on the type of building and method used.
Fillon insisted that all revenue from the tax -- estimated at some four billion euros (5.7 billion dollars) -- would be handed back to taxpayers, in the form of "green cheques" or tax cuts elsewhere.
"I assure you there will be no increase in the obligatory taxes. The carbon tax is about transferring taxation, it is not a new tax," he said.
As far as businesses are concerned, it will be offset by a lower local business tax while households would be compensated via lower income taxes or lower social charges, he said.
The tax will not cover electricity, he said, arguing that French power consumption was "overwhelmingly drawn from nuclear power."
Based on France's commitment to slash global warming emissions by 75 percent by 2050, a government planel called for a levy of 32 euros for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, rising to 100 euros per tonne in 2030.
But the government has already said the levy would start at no more than 15 or 20 euros, in order to avoid a consumer backlash.
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CSIRO Talks Mining With Remote Communities
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Sep 02, 2009
CSIRO and the National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) have joined forces to launch a communication program aimed at Australia's remote communities. "We want communities to be better equipped to understand how current and possible future exploration and mining technologies may or may not affect the land," CSIRO's Minerals Down Under Flagship Director Dr Peter Lilly said. "We hope that this ... read more
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