France launches climate talks with industry

Negotiations on voluntary agreements begin aimed at filling gap left by failed energy tax

French ministers met yesterday with leaders of 18 large energy-intensive or energy producing firms to discuss creating voluntary agreements for "significant" cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Industry minister Christian Pierret and environment minister Yves Cochet said the session was designed to gauge companies' "willingness to engage constructively".

The meeting is the latest in a series of developments that have pushed plans for an energy or emissions tax off the political agenda and moved the debate towards industry's preferred alternative of voluntary agreements (EED 20/07/01).

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