PARIS, Jan. 31 — President Jacques Chirac has demanded that the United States sign both the Kyoto climate protocol and a future agreement that will take effect when the Kyoto accord runs out in 2012.
He said that he welcomed last week’s State of the Union address in which President Bush described climate change as a “serious challenge” and acknowledged that a growing number of American politicians now favor emissions cuts.
But he warned that if the United States did not sign the agreements, a carbon tax across Europe on imports from nations that have not signed the Kyoto treaty could be imposed to try to force compliance. The European Union is the largest export market for American goods.
“A carbon tax is inevitable,” Mr. Chirac said. “If it is European, and I believe it will be European, then it will all the same have a certain influence because it means that all the countries that do not accept the minimum obligations will be obliged to pay.”
Trade lawyers have been divided over the legality of a carbon tax, with some saying it would run counter to international trade rules. But Mr. Chirac said other European countries would back it. “I believe we will have all of the European Union,” he said.
Mr. Chirac spoke as scientists from around the world gathered in Paris to discuss an authoritative international report on climate change, portions of which will be released on Friday.
Mr. Chirac’s critics say that despite his comments in support of environmental measures, his record as president is far from green. He angered environmentalists across the globe when he conducted nuclear tests in a Pacific atoll within months of coming into office in 1995. He has been a loyal ally of French farmers and their pollution-causing practices, blocking some proposed Europe-wide reforms.
Most recently, France’s national plan for allocating carbon emission credits to businesses had to be revised after the European Union rejected it as too generous.
Good, maybe this will get into our government's thick skulls... Dollars are the only things that seem to matter to the administration...