France sets carbon price floor

20 May 2016 | Markets

France will set a carbon price floor of about €30 ($33.95) a tonne in its 2017 finance bill as the government seeks to kickstart broader European action to cut emissions and drive forward last year’s landmark international climate accord.

The French government said last month that it would unilaterally set a carbon price floor in the absence of a broader European initiative to strengthen carbon pricing, hoping the move will spur other countries to act. It did not, however, give an indication on pricing.

Following a meeting with European Union ambassadors on Tuesday to brief them on France’s move to ratify the Paris climate agreement, environment minister, Ségolène Royal, told journalists that France was also taking steps towards a floor price for carbon.

“I told them that France will fix a carbon price in the next finance law of about €30 per tonne and it is very important that this momentum is followed by a coalition of other countries,” Royal said.

The French finance bill is usually presented to cabinet in September and adopted by parliament in November.

Royal said that France will propose a “price corridor” that will give different nations a degree of flexibility.

Germany and several other countries are moving towards a floor price for carbon, with companies and investment funds also supportive, Royal added.

Britain already has a domestic carbon floor price of about €25 per tonne, but a higher Europe-wide price could benefit companies such as French state-controlled utility EDF, which produces most of its electricity from nuclear sources but pays the same carbon levies as more polluting coal-fired power producers.

EDF chief executive, Jean-Bernard Lévy, said last month that the company wanted a minimum carbon price of between €30-€40 per tonne in France and Europe to compete effectively.

Carbon prices under the European Emissions Trading System, which charges more than 11,000 companies for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit, have fallen to about €6 a tonne from about €30 in 2008 because of a glut of permits.

Royal, who is also the chair of the COP21 climate talks, met the ambassadors to inform them of plans by France to move ahead with the ratification of the climate accord reached by 195 nations in Paris last December.

She will present a bill to ratify the agreement in parliament later on Tuesday.

“The time has come to mobilise the European Union so that there is no delay in the ratification of the Paris accord,” she said.

On Monday governments began work on a rule book to implement the Paris agreement to limit global warming, with the United Nations urging stronger action after a string of record-smashing monthly temperatures.


SOURCE: Climate Change News