French prime minister proposes an import tax on Kyoto-averse countries

We’d like to preface this story on French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin with an amuse bouche: his name always makes us think of that Singing Nun tune from the ’60s, which led us to a lyrics site today, which featured the offer, “Send the Singing Nun ringtones to your cell phone.” What a world we live in. OK, on to the news: the French PM has proposed a European tax on imports from countries that don’t play along with the Kyoto Protocol. Some see the idea — which would require E.U. support — as a protectionist trade measure, but de Villepin maintains that it’s crucial for battling big polluters like the U.S. and China. “Europe has to use all its weight to stand up to this sort of environmental dumping,” he said, promising a concrete tax proposal by March. France is also aiming for a new coal tax and increased taxes on polluters. “The environment is a global issue,” de Villepin said. “Our efforts will be worthless if we are the only ones fighting for the future of the planet.”