French business in climate charm offensive

Series of industry groups propose voluntary emission reductions, oppose new energy taxes

France's main business federation yesterday called on the government to abandon plans for an industrial energy tax and instead enter into voluntary agreements with different industry sectors to cut greenhouse gas emissions "significantly" by 2010.

Medef said it would propose an over-arching 2010 emissions reduction goal for industry by the end of 2002. It wants a parallel emissions trading system to be launched in 2003

The organisation's announcement follows hot on the heels of similar initiatives by several other French industry associations. On Wednesday, the chemical industry association (UIC) said its member companies had taken on a voluntary unilateral commitment to collectively cut emissions by 2010 by 30% based on 1990 levels. The association claimed this would mean an absolute reduction of 11-22m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and require a "constant effort" to improve energy efficiency.

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