Macron pushes for EU minimum price for carbon

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe must set a minimum price for carbon, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, something that would require a new tax on imports from non-EU countries that are not doing enough to tackle climate change.

Since his election in May, Macron has championed policies to combat climate change, putting him at odds with President Donald Trump who pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris Climate accord.

Macron reiterated that France would increase the price of carbon emitted there to 84 euros per tonne in 2022 from 44 euros this year. But he said the carbon trading market was not working efficiently at the European level.

“We need a European price floor for carbon. I know it won’t be easy, there will be resistance from all around,” Macron told a conference on financing sustainable growth in Brussels ahead of a summit of European Union leaders.

Such a minimum price would incentivise greener investments, but would need to be accompanied by a tax on goods from countries beyond Europe’s borders who do not “make the same environmental choices”, he said.

Macron also said there should be a target for EU budget spending to help a transition to a green economy and no EU spending should be “hostile” to the environment.

“I think a target of 40 percent of the budget would allow for this transition to be ambitious rather than measured, as it is today.”

Reporting by Richard Lough and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Robin Pomeroy