EU delays decision on aid to cut emissions


CLIMATE CHANGE:EU LEADERS have refused to declare how much money they will give developing countries to help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Member states would discuss the issue again in June but were unlikely to decide even then since the contribution of the US, Japan and others had to be looked at first, Mirek Topolanek, the Czech prime minister, said yesterday after talks with other leaders.

“We haven’t come forward with concrete proposals because there are other global partners who have not come forward with their preparations and pinned their colours to the mast,” he said.

The move was seen as a win for states such as Poland, which are wary of how contributions will be divided among EU countries and want to avoid it being dependent on how much greenhouse gas each member state produces.

Polish officials said they were happy that any decision will be taken by EU leaders rather than during climate change negotiations in Copenhagen to decide a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. But with all EU economies suffering the decision not to set a figure on the aid package, proposed by the European Commission to include €30 billion, won the backing of all EU leaders.

Member states agreed that “significant domestic and external sources of finance” would be needed to help developing countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions, according to the conclusions from the summit. “The European Union will take on its fair share of financing such actions in developing countries.”

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso also insisted the EU would deliver on its commitments to poorer countries and that the matter would be discussed by EU leaders in June and by the G8 group of industrialised economies before an agreement was finalised ahead of the meeting in Copenhagen.

But environmental campaigners were unimpressed and feared it could cause problems in getting agreement in Copenhagen. “It disguises the fundamental unwillingness of EU treasuries and governments to live up to what they have already agreed to on climate change,” said Stephan Singer, director of WWF’s Global Energy Programme.

Earlier this week, Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, warned of the consequences if EU states did not honour commitments. “Without a clear commitment from industrialised countries to less developed countries there will not be a deal at Copenhagen,” he said.