The New York Times reported today that French 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.
According to The Times, Chirac 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.”
French officials have recently floated the idea of imposing carbon-equivalent tariffs on imports from countries that do not tax or otherwise regulate carbon emissions. These tariffs would help level the playing field for early adopters of carbon controls.