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France: Financial Incentive to Purchase Clean Cars

(Feb. 2, 2008) In October 2007, a highly publicized environmental forum took place in Paris, the "Grenelle de l'environnement." The forum resulted in many recommendations to combat global warming and protect the environment. President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to implement the recommendations and promised "an ecological revolution."

The main measures include: suspending commercial farming of genetically-modified (GM) crops pending the conclusions of an independent committee; passing a law to further regulate GM products; taking into account the "carbon cost" and biodiversity cost in all major construction projects; revising the Public Procurement Code to make environment clauses in public works projects compulsory rather than optional; adopting greater energy efficiency standards for new buildings and for renovation of existing buildings; extending the national rail network; cutting the use of pesticides by half; refurbishing the inland waterways and sea transport systems; and encouraging the purchase of clean cars.

This last recommendation was implemented by a decree published on December 30, 2007. Buyers of clean cars will receive financial help if they meet certain conditions set forth in the decree. The amount of financial help depends upon the rate of CO2 emission per kilometer, the type of vehicle, and the year of purchase. The highest amount is for CO2 emissions of 60 grams or less. Buyers of vehicles with CO2 emissions of 160 grams per kilometer will have to pay a higher tax. (Presentation of the Grenelle Environment Forum, concluding speech by M. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, French Prime Minister portal,
(last visited Feb. 14, 2008, and Décret 2007-1873 du 26 décembre 2007 instituant une aide à l'acquisition des véhicules propres, JOURNAL OFFICIEL [France's Official Gazette], Dec. 30, 2007, at 21846.)