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It is no accident that major European oil and gas companies — including BP, Shell and Total — chose to call for a price on carbon emissions just before this week’s World Gas Conference in Paris. Also known as a carbon tax, such an approach has been proposed as a way to limit global warming by encouraging a shift away from coal and other high-carbon fossil fuels, and towards renewable energy. It could well also give a boost to demand for natural gas, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel.