EU leaders strike deal on climate change funding
European Union leaders have come to an agreement on funding that could boost efforts to reach a global deal to fight climate change, British and Danish diplomats said.
Reuters - European Union leaders have agreed an offer to put on the table at global climate talks in Copenhagen in December, Britain and Denmark said on Friday, but east European officials said divisions remained.
The two-day summit had yet to determine how to divide the bill for helping developing countries tackle climate change, the east European officials said.
The 27-country EU has been trying to secure a negotiating mandate for the Copenhagen talks to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations anti-climate change scheme expiring in 2012.
"Europe is making three conditional offers, money on the table, saying we will do everything we can to make a climate change deal happen," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters.
"I think this is a breakthrough that takes us forward to Copenhagen and makes a Copenhagen agreement possible," he said.
Success in Copenhagen is likely to hinge on money
Developing countries say they will not sign up to tackling climate change without enough funds from rich nations, which bear most of the responsibility for damaging the atmosphere by fuelling their industries with oil and coal over decades.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the EU was willing to pay a "huge amount of money" in a Copenhagen deal if other rich countries also met their commitments.
"This is a signal to the poorest countries of the world," he told reporters. "It is also a strong signal to the United States, Japan and other countries."
But east European countries said no solution had been reached over their demands that the EU agree how to split the bill before pledging any concrete amounts of money.
Nine east European countries question the fairness of such handouts, observing that some wealthier regions in developing countries are better off than parts of poorer European states such as Romania.
"I see the chances of a compromise are moderate," said Poland's minister for Europe, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz.
"We don't want a situation where Romania or Bulgaria is going to pay Brazil to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, because it's absurd."
Excessive handouts could hamper the region's recovery from the economic crisis, Poland argues.
"We don't want to become the museum of folklore of eastern Europe," Dowgielewicz said.
South African cleric Desmond Tutu criticised Poland in a letter to EU leaders for standing in the way of a European Union pact on climate change.
"Poland is among the 50 richest countries in the world, with a per capita gross domestic product three times that of China and 20 times that of Mozambique," Tutu wrote.
Britain's Brown said the EU summit would endorse an estimate that developing countries need 100 billion euros ($148.2 billion) a year by 2020 to tackle climate change.
"There are very specific figures today," he said. "That is aid that is being provided to help developing countries meet their climate change targets and cut their emissions where otherwise they couldn't afford to do so," he said.