France's solution to global warming? Tax citizens on the CO2 they produce

The heavily taxed French like to grouse about all the levies they pay, but there's a new tax that's turned that constant grumble into a roar. Called la taxe carbone, or the carbon tax, the new levy would charge businesses and individuals €17 for every ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) they produce. It's the equivalent of asking Americans to cough up $25.30 for every ton of CO2 they generate -- about 20 tons per year for every U.S. citizen, or three times as much as the average Frenchman.

France's measure is being closely followed around the world as it would be the first to penalize private citizens -- not just corporations -- for their carbon-fueled lifestyles. The French government hopes that as a result of the tax, more people will reduce consumption by taking public transportation to work instead of their cars, or by wearing sweaters, say, instead of cranking up the heat.