Constitutional Council strikes French ecotax

France's proposed ecotax, designed to encourage a reduction in industrial greenhouse gas emissions, was dealt a deathblow Wednesday when the country's Constitutional Council ruled it was unconstitutional. The Council said the General Tax on Polluting Activities could not be extended to include corporate use of intermediate energies.


PARIS�France's proposed ecotax, designed to enforce a reduction in industrial greenhouse gas emissions, was dealt a deathblow Wednesday when the country's Constitutional Council declared it unconstitutional.

The Council said extending the General Tax on Polluting Activities to include the corporate use of intermediate energies was unconstitutional for two main reasons. One was that the complicated structure of the tax contravened the basic rule of tax equality. The other was that since the purpose of the tax was to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it should not be applied to France's electricity industry, where 80% of generation is from nuclear or hydropower�sources that emit no greenhouse gases.

Representatives of the oil and chemical industries expressed satisfaction at the Council's decision. But France's environment ministry said it would seek other ways to meet France's target of saving 15 million tonnes/year of carbon equivalent by 2010. The ecotax, had it been adopted, would have saved 2.5 million tonnes.

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