France Threatens Trade War With Trump Over Paris Climate Agreement

(Lev radin/

Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The one-time, and possibly future, French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants Europe to impose a carbon tax on American imports if President-elect Donald Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Paris global warming agreement.

Sarkozy threatened to apply a carbon tax to all American-made products if Trump follows through on his pledge, and proposed that all of Europe does the same.

“Donald Trump has said – we’ll see if he keeps this promise – that he won’t respect the conclusions of the Paris climate agreement,” Sarkozy, who is again a candidate for the French presidency, told a television channel. “Well, I will demand that Europe put in place a carbon tax at its border, a tax of 1-3 per cent, for all products coming from the United States, if the United States doesn’t apply environmental rules that we are imposing on our companies.”

Sarkozy is the front-runner for a presidential nomination of the center-right French Republican party. Betting markets estimate Sarkozy’s chance of becoming President of France again at about 11 percent. He was France’s President from 2007 to 2012.

Despite the threats, even France itself isn’t complying with its own Paris global warming agreement promises. A labor union successfully pressured the French government to roll back the Paris carbon tax earlier this month, because such a tax would have shut down several coal power plants in Paris operated by its members.

Only four nations  — Ireland, Sweden, Chile, and Finland — actually have total carbon taxation today. The largest economy to ever have a carbon tax — Australia — repealed it in 2014 over concerns it was harming the economy. No country taxes CO2 emissions at the levels deemed necessary to substantially mitigate global warming as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The study found that even the most well regarded carbon taxes haven’t done much to actually reduce CO2 emissions.

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