31 Oct E.U. Reaches Funding Deal on Climate Change
E.U. Reaches Funding Deal on Climate Change
By JAMES KANTER and STEPHEN CASTLE
Published: October 30, 2009
European Union leaders on Friday offered to contribute money to a global fund to help developing countries tackle global warming hoping kick-start stalled talks on a new agreement on climate change.
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But E.U. leaders disappointed climate campaigners by making the offer conditional on donations from other parts of the world and by failing to decide how much Europe would contribute to a global pot of up to 50 billion euros by 2020.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt insisted the E.U. now had “a very strong negotiating position” to press for a global deal at United Nations talks in Copenhagen in December that are aimed at agreeing a successor accord to the Kyoto Protocol.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, also stressed that Europe was leading the way.
“There is no-one else among the industrialized nations” to have made as concrete an offer of climate finance, Ms. Merkel told a press conference in Brussels.
But environmental groups took a mostly negative view of the results of the two-day summit, saying E.U. leaders had chosen vague, global figures and thereby diminished chances of unblocking climate negotiations ahead of the meeting in Copenhagen.
“Europe has failed once again to say how much it is prepared to contribute for climate finance,” said Sonja Meister, a climate campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe. “In every way the EU is shirking its historical responsibilities and blocking progress towards the just and fair agreement the world needs in Copenhagen,” she said.
The European Commission had called on E.U. leaders to make an offer of up to 15 billion euros annually by 2020.
Mr. Reinfeldt, the Swedish prime minister, said leaders had instead agreed that developing nations needed about 100 billion euros annually by 2020 and that, of that sum, between 22 billion euros and 50 billion euros would have to come from public funds, as opposed to private sources like investments in carbon-reduction projects.
Mr. Reinfeldt also said that E.U. nations could make a voluntary decision to contribute to a so-called fast-track mechanism that would make funds available immediately to developing countries.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, put a brave face on the result, underlining that the trade bloc should not be “naive” going into the negotiations in Copenhagen that are set to begin in fewer than six weeks.
“Our offer is not a blank check,” said Mr. Barroso. “We are ready to act, if our partners deliver,” he said.
E.U. officials said that Ms. Merkel, the German chancellor, who had been reticent over making any European commitment, had been persuaded that the figures were only conditional on steps being taken by other nation