The French government is scrambling to save its controversial new law on carbon tax after the country’s Constitutional Court annulled it.
Ministers say they will present a new text on the plan in February after a surprise verdict. The court said that measures due to come into force on January 1 had too many loopholes that benefit major industrial polluters.
One expert said the constitutional court ruled that the carbon tax goes against the principle of equality relating to citizens and what they pay the state.
Many of France’s biggest industrial polluters, including truckers, farmers and fishing fleets, were offered total or partial exemptions from the tax. But the Constitutional Court was not happy that 93 percent of industrial carbon dioxide emissions would be exempt.
The government argued that these sectors already face EU measures and should not be placed at a disadvantage to their international competitors. The court’s ruling will come as a blow to President Sarkozy, who promoted the carbon tax as a cornerstone of his fiscal and environmental policy.