France must cut reliance on oil and gas, says Hollande

(FIBA) Tony Parker carried France on his back into the EuroBasket 2013 final. His teammates returned the favor on Sunday, overcoming a rare off performance from the Spurs All-Star to crush Lithuania 80-66 in Slovenia for its first European championship. Coming off a 32-point masterclass in Frances overtime victory against Spain in the semifinals, Parker was just 6-for-17 for 12 points in the final. Nicolas Batum came up with 17 points, and Boris Diaw added 15 as the rest of Frances lineup shot a hair out under 52 percent. It didnt prevent Parker from being named MVP of the tournament, during which he improved to third on the events all-time scoring list. France trailed 29-27 in the second quarter when it engineered a 21-3 run to close the half. Lithuania never got as close as 14 the rest of the way as Les Bleus romped two years to avenge their loss to Spain in the 2011 final. Its hard to describe how I feel,” said Parker, who recently said he was still hurting after the Spurs seven-game loss to Miami in the Finals. The journey was unbelievable. I wouldnt change a thing. I won the title.

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“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 elsewhere. 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 sources. COST SAVINGS 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.