Europe Deadlocked Over Climate Strategy
Discord reigned supreme at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday (20 October), with the most notable failure in the area of climate financing.
The Swedish EU presidency had hoped to reach an agreement on individual member state contributions towards a EU pot of funding, destined to help developing countries tackle climate change.
“It is a disappointing outcome, that we weren’t able to reach an agreement,” said Swedish finance minister Anders Borg after the meeting.
Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken described the meeting as a “fiasco”, adding that the likelihood of failing to secure a global deal in Copenhagen this December to replace the Kyoto protocol was now “very real.”
A European Commission communication last month said developing countries will need €100 billion a year by 2020 to mitigate the effects of climate change and limit their CO2 emissions, and that the EU contribution should be in the range of €2-15 billion.
It also says the EU should provide €5bn-7bn of ‘fast track’ funding between 2010 and 2013 to help developing countries ‘front-load’ measures to tackle climate change.
But member states are divided over whether national contributions should be based on ability to pay or on current emission levels, a question Poland and eight other members want resolved before the EU announces how much it will contribute to the global fund.
The group of central and eastern EU countries also called for contributions to the ‘fast-track’ funding to be “voluntary”.
“We had a good opportunity today,” said UK chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling. “Unfortunately, a number of countries wanted two things that the majority found unacceptable.”
The failure of finance ministers to reach an agreement on individual contributions means EU leaders meeting in Brussels next week will now have to turn more attention to the issue if a common negotiating position is to be reached before December’s crunch meeting.
Copyright 2009, EUObserver
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