France’s carbon tax

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been pushing for fairly steep carbon taxes as domestic policy in France over the summer and into the fall. It has not been an easy discussion for Sarkozy, in particular, who has gotten a good deal of flack. There is a nice discussion of this controversy over at Marginal Revolution. Nonetheless, France is going forward with a carbon tax in 2010. The new tax will be 17 euros (£15) per tonne of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2). We’ll see what happens with fuel consumption in particular.

More recently, Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have advocated for a carbon tax on imports–the ever popular Monty Pythonesque concept of taxing foreigners living abroad (and, to varying degrees, French consumers with a taste for high-carbon imports). This could be very interesting, with global warming finally providing a legitimization for international environmental regimes which typically have not had as much influence as their proponents have hoped vis-a-vis international trade agreements.