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. Sarkozy backs 'carbon tax' to fight climate change

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Oct 25, 2007
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday came out in support of a "carbon tax" on fossil fuels and other pollutants, as well as a possible levy on imports from countries outside the Kyoto Protocol.

In a speech wrapping up four months of climate negotiations between the French government, industry and the green lobby, Sarkozy said he would consider shifting part of the French tax burden from labour to polluting products.

"Green taxation has to be more than just a compilation of little taxes," Sarkozy told a ceremony wrapping up four months of tough negotiations between the government, industry and the green lobby.

"We need to profoundly revise all of our taxes and charges. The aim is to tax pollution more, including fossil fuels, and to tax labour less," said the president, who was ask to rule on the divisive issue of a carbon tax.

Sarkozy pledged to study the creation of a "climate-energy tax", "in exchange for an alleviation of labour taxes", ruling out any increase in overall taxation.

Addressing European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, present for his speech, Sarkozy also called for a Europe-wide effort to study the "option of taxing products imported from countries that do not respect the Kyoto protocol."

Sarkozy also announced a raft of measures to slash France's greenhouse-gas emissions, cut pollution and foster biodiversity, endorsing most of the conclusions of a vast national forum which wrapped up over the past two days.

These ranged from an agreement to freeze the building of new highways and airports, to a national plan to shift freight traffic from road to rail, to a pledge to slash pesticide use in Europe's biggest farm producer.

Nobel-winning climate crusader Al Gore, who took the stand before Sarkozy at the ceremony, paid a powerful tribute to the French forum, saying it was a model for global efforts to fight climate change.

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Darfur rebel group kidnaps foreign oil workers
Khartoum (AFP) Oct 25, 2007
A Darfur rebel group has attacked a Sudanese oilfield and kidnapped a Canadian and an Iraqi worker, a leader of the group said on Thursday, vowing further attacks unless foreign oil companies pull out.

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