* Hollande wants 30 pct cut in fossil fuel demand by 2030
* Part of aim to halve energy consumption by 2050
* Reiterates call on EU to target 40 pct CO2 emissions cut
* Greens in coalition want tougher environmental targets
(Recasts, adds detail)
By Michel Rose
PARIS, Sept 20 France should aim for a 30
percent cut in fossil fuel use by 2030, President Francois
Hollande said in a speech on Friday which included plans for a
carbon tax from 2014 and a tax break on home insulation to help
consumers save energy.
Hollande faces a delicate balancing act as he reconciles
demands for more binding environmental targets from his Green
Party coalition partners with French households and businesses
increasingly wary of tax rises.
Elected last year pledging sweeping energy reforms, Hollande
said the cut in fossil fuel use from current levels was needed
to meet the country's goal of halving overall energy use by
"Europe must set an example," he told an energy conference
in Paris. "It's an objective that can stir us, but will have to
be adjusted to our growth performance and will suppose major
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is expected to provide
details on the proposals on Saturday when the two-day conference
ends, while fiscal details are likely to be inserted in France's
budget bill to be presented next week.
Hollande said France would introduce a carbon tax in 2014,
but stopped short of confirming French media reports that the
new levy could raise 500 million euros next year and up to 4
billion euros in 2016.
Britain announced a carbon tax in April.
"If this tax is created by decreasing other levies, why
not?, but if this is a way to raise taxes overall, then no,"
said Pierre Gattaz, head of French business lobby Medef.
Hollande added that proceeds from the new "energy-climate
contribution" would be redistributed through lower taxes
He proposed a cut in value-added tax (VAT) on home
insulation work to 5 percent from 7 percent currently to
increase energy efficiency.
The government's main energy ideas include efficiency
programs, a push for more electric vehicles and a boost in
renewable energy use.
On Friday Hollande asked his industry minister to speed up
construction of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles,
on which French firms such as carmaker Renault and
Bollore have invested billions.
Hollande also stuck to his campaign promise of cutting
France's reliance on nuclear power to 50 percent from 75 percent
by 2025, adding that he wanted to boost alternative energy
France draws 80 percent of its electricity output from its
fleet of 58 nuclear reactors but relies on oil and gas imports
for other energy needs such as transport.
It cut oil consumption by almost 10 percent between 1990 and
2012, helped by more fuel-efficient vehicles and more use of its
own electricity over imported gas.
But with oil prices rising about fivefold in the
meantime, energy imports have weighed more on the country's
trade balance, with its total energy bill reaching a record 68.7
billion euros in 2012.
Hollande said that his plans aim to save 20 billion to 50
billion euros on France's annual energy bill by 2030.
EUROPEAN CARBON TARGET
He also called on European Union partners to agree a more
ambitious target to cut greenhouse gas emissions and said the
28-nation bloc should consider imposing an EU-wide carbon tax.
Hollande reiterated his call for the EU to cut CO2 emissions
by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels versus the
existing 20 percent goal.
That proposal chimes with plans under consideration by the
European Commission. EU sources said on Thursday the bloc's
executive was also considering doubling the bloc's target to cut
greenhouse gas emissions.
France and Britain, which have relatively low CO2 emission
levels thanks to their supply of nuclear energy, are at the high
end of ambitions for the bloc. Countries more reliant on coal,
such as Poland, do not want any new target until after 2015.
The European Union's goals can influence the international
debate on climate change and also have a bearing on the European
Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), where carbon prices have
fallen to record lows this year because of a surplus of tradable
permits to pollute above allocated levels.
(Additional reporting by Muriel Boselli, Ingrid Melander,
Marion Douet, Julien Ponthus; editing by Mark John and Jason