EU climate change talks break down


Environmental campaigners slammed Europe’s governments tonight after latest talks to settle funding levels for climate change broke down without agreement.

The European Commission has put a price of up to £14 billion a year on the EU’s contribution towards the cost poor countries will face meet a global climate change deal.

But talks between EU finance ministers failed to agree figures today.

Swedish finance minister Anders Borg, chairing the talks, said afterwards: “There was a disappointing failure to reach agreement on climate financing today. The lack of conclusion was disappointing - but it doesn’t mean we won’t find a solution.”

EU environment ministers will try next — but all eyes are on an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels at the end of the month to deliver an accord on funding with little over a month before the EU goes to Copenhagen hoping to present a united environmental front to the rest of the world..

Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said: “Today’s EU fiasco has made the chance of failure in Copenhagen very real.

“Climate funding for developing nations is a make-or-break issue for a global climate agreement. Instead of laying the foundations of a global climate agreement, finance ministers have only brought the catastrophic effects of climate change one step closer.

“Greenpeace calls on the EU heads of state and government meeting next week to step up to the plate and make binding commitments to cut emissions and contribute to climate action in the developing world.”

Friends of the Earth said that if the EU continues to delay “facing up to its historical responsibilities”, the Copenhagen talks could be deadlocked.

“Ministers have again delayed agreement on a definite number for funds to help developing countries tackle climate change and adapt to its consequences. To keep hopes alive of a just global agreement on climate change Europe must provide its fair share of the finances needed” insisted Sonja Meister, FoE Europe’s climate campaign co-ordinator.

Elise Ford, Head of Oxfam International’s EU office, said: “The EU has in the past shown itself capable of delivering what’s needed to secure a deal in Copenhagen, but today’s result also shows it’s entirely capable of throwing climate leadership out the window.

“Heads of state and government must pick up the pieces when they meet next week.” She added: “It is clear some member states wanted to see progress on the EU’s finance position today — some even came ready with their cheque-books. This coalition of the willing, including the UK, Netherlands and Denmark, was held back by classic internal EU bickering.”

Poland and Germany were accused of holding up a deal, unable to agree on sharing the cost burden of propping up developing countries’ climate change efforts.

The Commission’s recommendation to governments last month said that by 2020, developing countries are likely to face annual costs of around €100 billion to curb their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change in line with any global deal reached in Copenhagen.