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Sarkozy, Merkel want carbon tax on imports

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Sept 18, 2009
The leaders of France and Germany called Friday for the United Nations to support a carbon tax on imports from countries who fail to back international efforts to fight global warming.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arguing that states that fail to back a deal at a climate summit in Copenhagen in December should be held accountable.

"It would be unacceptable for the efforts of the most ambitious countries to be undermined by the carbon emissions released by lack of or insufficient action by other countries," reads the letter released by the French presidency.

"For that reason, it should be possible to put in place appropriate adjustment measures targeting the countries that do not implement or fail to support this accord," they wrote.

The two leaders also pleaded for the creation of a world environmental agency, with as a first step the emergence of new institutions that would "encourage the emergence of a body of international environmental law."

The December 7-18 meeting under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims to set down action for tackling heat-trapping carbon emissions beyond 2012, when the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol run out.

Representatives of the world's 17 biggest carbon polluters kicked off a week of high-stakes talks on climate change Thursday with a discussion aimed at bridging differences ahead of the Copenhagen talks.

Sarkozy, whose government is to introduce a carbon levy on domestic fuel emissions in 2010, has repeatedly argued for a European Union carbon tax on imports from regions with poor environmental standards.

Germany had yet to come out in favour of a carbon tax on imports, which a German minister has warned could be perceived by developing nations as a form of "eco-imperialism."

The European Union prides itself on being at the forefront of the climate fight.

But developing countries such as India and China argue rich countries ought to shoulder the main responsibility for mitigating global warming as they have historically emitted most of the greenhouse gases at the root of the problem.

The French and German leaders said the New York talks should secure "binding and ambitious commitments from developed countries" in line with a Group of Eight target to slash emissions by 80 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Developing nations, meanwhile, should pledge to "reduce the growth in emissions compared to current levels" within an agreed timeframe, and to publish "carbon sober growth plans" by 2012.

They also called for world leaders to agree on ways to provide financial and technological support for developing countries in their struggle to rein in carbon dioxide emissions.

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EU agrees industy sectors to help in climate deal
Brussels (AFP) Sept 18, 2009
EU nations on Friday agreed on what industry sectors to help if they face a problem of companies moving outside the bloc to escape stricter European rules on tackling climate change. The list will only be formally adopted if an adequate global deal on battling climate change does not emerge from international talks in Copenhagen in December, a European Commission spokeswoman said. ... read more

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