French ecology minister pushes carbon pricing

Poitou-Charentes regional council president Socialist Segolene Royal . (Joel Saget, AFP)
Poitou-Charentes regional council president Socialist Segolene Royal . (Joel Saget, AFP)

New York - French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal on Wednesday made the case for higher carbon pricing to promote green technology at a UN gathering of investors.

"We need a carbon price, to give companies the ability to manage the long term cost [of global warming] and give them an incentive to invest," Royal told the meeting attended by climate crusader Al Gore and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The idea of a setting a price for the cost of carbon is to encourage polluters to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit by making them pay the bill and focus on the need to develop and invest in green technology.

Royal said that while a single carbon pricing would not be achievable, there should be a "price window" between an agreed bottom figure and a higher price.

In Europe, the current price of €8 per ton was too low, she said, adding that €15 should be the minimum.

"The challenge is to drive up the price per tonne of CO2, which is currently too low at 8 euros per tonne," she said.

France has set a carbon price of €22 per ton, which will increase gradually to €100 in 2030.

Royal said the drop in oil prices could provide a boost to companies who may choose to direct saving from the lower prices toward their transition to cleaner technologies.

"With lower oil prices, we are at the perfect moment to introduce a carbon price. It will be more readily accepted," she argued.

Around 60 countries and regions are paying for carbon emissions through taxes or carbon markets, with China preparing to create a domestic carbon market next year.

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