Germany called a French idea to slap "carbon tariffs" on products from countries that are not trying to cut greenhouse gases a form of "eco-imperialism" and a direct violation of WTO rules.
The issue of greenhouse tariffs has met bitter opposition from developing countries such as China and India, who count on the developed world to buy their exports as they build their economies in the face of the worst financial crisis in decades.
Matthias Machnig, Germany's State Secretary for the Environment, told a news briefing on Friday that a French push for Europe to impose carbon tariffs on imports from countries that flout rules on carbon emissions would send the wrong signal to the international community.
"There are two problems -- the WTO (World Trade Organization), and the signal would be that this is a new form of eco-imperialism," Machnig said.
“We are closing our markets for their products, and I don't think this is a very helpful signal for the international negotiations.”