Long-term competitiveness based on an environmental tax

By Jacques Le Cacheux

“Shock” or “Pact”? The debate over the loss of France’s competitiveness has recently focused on how fast a switchover from employer payroll taxes to another type of financing is being implemented, implying that the principle of doing this has already been established. As France faces a combination of a deteriorating situation in employment and the trade balance, plus growing evidence that its companies are becoming less competitive compared to those of most of our partners [1] and that business margins are alarmingly low for the future, the need to reduce labour costs seems to be clear. But how and how fast are subject to debate. Should there be a rise in the CSG tax, VAT, or other charges, at the risk of reducing the purchasing power of households in an economic context that is already worse than bleak? Continue reading “Long-term competitiveness based on an environmental tax”

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Must we choose between saving the planet and exiting the crisis?

By Xavier Timbeau

It is up to our generation and those that follow to find a way for 10 billion people to live decently and sustainably on a planet with finite resources and capacities. As a decent standard of living requires a mode of consumption closer to that of our Western societies than the deprivation that afflicts a large part of the world’s inhabitants, the task is immense – but failure is unacceptable. All this requires us to curb climate change, to anticipate falling agricultural yields, to prepare for the impact of rising sea levels, to adapt, and to halt the destruction of biomass and biodiversity while taking into account the depletion of natural resources, whether renewable or not. The list of constraints is long, and unfortunately it does not stop with these few examples (the interested reader can profit from reading the OFCE’s previous work on this subject). Continue reading “Must we choose between saving the planet and exiting the crisis?”

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Let’s negotiate a global carbon price signal – quickly!

By Stéphane Dion [1] and Éloi Laurent

Two decades after the Rio Conference, and just as a new climate conference is opening in Bonn on Monday 14 May 2012, we must admit to collective failure in combating human-induced climate change. We cannot escape serious climate disruption if we continue down this same path. We must change direction, and we must do it quickly. Continue reading “Let’s negotiate a global carbon price signal – quickly!”

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A carbon tax at Europe’s borders: Fasten your seat belts!

By Éloi Laurent and Jacques Le Cacheux

How can the current deadlock in international climate negotiations be resolved? By an optimal mix of incentives and constraints. In the case that currently opposes the European Union and the international air carriers, the EU is legitimately bringing this winning combination to bear by imposing what amounts to a carbon tax on its borders. It is brandishing a constraint, the threat of financial penalties, to encourage an industry-wide agreement that is long overdue among the airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Continue reading “A carbon tax at Europe’s borders: Fasten your seat belts!”

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Post-Durban: For a Sino-European axis

By Eloi Laurent

The European Union absolutely must stay the course at the Durban conference and afterwards, not only by reaffirming its climate goals but even more by consolidating these through the improved control of its carbon linkages (see the OFCE note in French: The European Union in Durban: Hold the course), that is to say, the overall impact of its economic growth. This requires moving – on its own if necessary  – from a target for 2020 of a 20% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions to a target of 30% of its emissions, which is more in synch with the goal that it has endorsed of limiting global warming to 2°C compared to the pre-industrial era. Continue reading “Post-Durban: For a Sino-European axis”

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R&D all at sea: Have electricity producers lost the plot?

By Evens Salies

Is there an inherent conflict between the technological efforts needed to meet the requirements of environmental policies and the liberalization of electricity markets? In effect, the way R&D spending by European electricity producers has changed over the last three decades can give rise to doubts about the ability of the European Union to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 93% by 2050 (European Commission, COM/2010/0639). Continue reading “R&D all at sea: Have electricity producers lost the plot?”

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