French owned energy firm EDF on Tuesday urged the adoption of a carbon price floor in the run-up to a climate warming conference in Paris, backing a government proposal to that effect for the sector in France.
"Most firms today have carbon price scenarios for their investments, and so have we," said Claude Nahon, EDF's director of sustainable development.
"But we must go further," Nahon told a news conference.
"Of course we support a proposal by (Energy Minister Segolene) Royal to create a carbon floor in France, or even Europe."
France is out to reduce its dependability on nuclear power in favour of renewables and last week Royal floated the idea, as part of an upcoming parliamentary bill, of a carbon floor price to offset imperfections in a European market vying to slash carbon emissions and push firms to adopt cleaner technology.
In July, legislators passed a bill to increase the target price of carbon to 56 euros ($63.7) a ton from 2020, then 100 euros a ton in 2030. The current 14.50 euros is due to rise next year to 22 euros.
For Nahon, "we must at least get up to between 20 and 30 euros a ton ... or even go a lot higher than that."
The European Union is already committed to a 40 percent drop in CO2 emissions by 2030.
Earlier this year, France's fellow EU state Britain almost doubled its carbon floor price to £18.08 ($27), prompting analysts to see coal-fired power plants being taken out of commission.
EDF says its own carbon footprint in France is small owing to its 58 nuclear reactors as well as investments in wind and solar power. The French group calculates its emissions at 17 grams (0.6 ounces) of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour—below a European average of some 300 g/kWh.
By 2030, EDF says it wants to double its renewables footprint to 50 gigawatt hours from a current 28.
Even so it is committed to building a coal-fired power plant in southeastern China.
Both EDF and French competitor Engie have both been criticised by NGOs for their involvement in coal-fired plants.
Earlier this year, Oxfam France and Friends of the Earth criticised both publicly-owned companies, claiming they emit more than 151 million tonnes of CO2 annually outside France from 46 coal power stations.
© 2015 AFP