French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for taxes to target polluters and said French use of pesticides should be halved.
Eco-activist and former US Vice President Al Gore (right) attended
He also said the commercial planting of genetically-modified (GM) crops would be suspended in France.
Mr Sarkozy was speaking at the end of a national conference on the environment.
He promised total transparency on environmental issues, including nuclear energy, and vowed to change transport policy to prioritise non-road traffic.
"We need to profoundly revise all of our taxes and charges. The aim is to tax pollution - notably fossil fuels - more, and tax work less," Mr Sarkozy said.
He called on the European Union to study in the next six months "the possibility of taxing imports from countries that do not respect the Kyoto Protocol" - the international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The nuclear industry dominates French electricity production
The conference was attended by former US Vice President Al Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for his work in highlighting the impact of climate change.
A leading Kenyan environmentalist and previous Nobel winner, Wangari Maathai, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also participated.
The conference failed to produce agreement on the future role of nuclear power, which accounts for 80% of the electricity generated in France, the AFP news agency reports.
Mr Sarkozy said France would freeze the building of new motorways and airports to try to tackle pollution from transport, which is responsible for at least quarter of French CO2 gas emissions.
Instead there would be more investment in the French rail network to try to shift freight traffic away from the roads.
Mr Sarkozy said France would not plant pest-resistant GM crops until further studies were carried out.
The EU has approved cultivation of a GM variety of maize developed by the US biotech firm Monsanto, but it has restricted other GM seeds and foods, in contrast with the US.