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Reinfeldt urges EU unity on climate change aid

Published: 29 Oct 2009 15:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Oct 2009 15:13 GMT+01:00

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt pushed European leaders to commit to concrete figures for helping poor countries fight climate change as EU heads gathered for a summit in Brussels on Thursday.

"I want a mention of a sum... let's see what is possible, it's coming close to the decisive moment, we're not ready yet," said Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.

He hoped his colleagues would use the summit as an opportunity to reach agreement and overcome resistance on the issue, which remains strong in many eastern European countries.

"I also want a mention of the sum because it's needed for other developed countries," he added, ahead of the two-day summit in Brussels.

While the leaders have already agreed on broad objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, vowing to cut them 20 percent by 2020, they are split on how to share the costs for such efforts, both within and outside Europe.

The European Union is keen to enter international climate talks in Copenhagen in December speaking with a unified voice to encourage the rest of the world, particularly the United States and China, to commit to sweeping emissions cuts themselves.

However the question of how to help developing nations pay for action against climate change remains a major bone of contention, with poorer central and eastern European countries showing little enthusiasm to put their hands in their pockets.

The European Commission estimates that €100 billion ($147 billion) will have to be found annually by 2020, with €22-50 billion of that to be found from public coffers.

The commission hopes that Europe's contribution will reach up to €15 billion per year in the 2013-2020 period, and is also calling for €1.5 billion to be provided annually as fast start up money for 2010-2013.

While environmental groups argue that would be insufficient, some countries argue that their cupboards are already bare due to the economic crisis which plunged Europe into recession and has left many with massive public deficits.

"In the current form, the burden-sharing proposal is not acceptable to us," said Hungary's Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, adding that this view is shared by Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia -- all newer members who have joined the EU since 2004.

A major problem in deciding who pays what is the balance to be found between charging the richest nations and charging the most polluting nations.

Eastern countries, led by Poland and its coal-fuelled power stations, say they will be overly penalized if too much emphasis is put on emissions, arguing that the more developed western European nations have already benefited from unfettered pollution levels and should fork out for the changes.

Others argue that Europe should wait to see the results of the Copenhagen talks before it decides on its own contributions in too much detail.

Sweden's European Affairs Minister Cecilia Malström sought to minimize the consequences of a failure to reach a unanimous deal in Brussels.

"We still have time," before the Copenhagen talks start on December 7, she said on the margins of a pre-summit meeting of European liberal leaders.

Others in Brussels displayed more urgency on the climate funding issue.

"The time has come when the EU has to put money on the table," said Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

"Some of my colleagues think we should wait for tactical reasons, that we keep our wallet in our pocket," but that would risk undermining Europe's position at the head of the climate talks, he argued.

"We could keep this leadership if we put money on the table," he said.

Finnish PM Matti Vahanen agreed: "I really hope we can do it because the EU will have its summits with US, China and India during the next few weeks and it will be good that we have some concrete figures on the table. We have to say that we are really committed to finance developing countries."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:44 October 29, 2009 by mkvgtired
I will post again:

We are not anywhere we have not been in the past. The medieval warm period as well as the little ice age are widely acknowledged by climatologists. The medieval warm period was warmer than it is today followed by a cold period.

(attached image not shown)

Loehle, C. and J.H. McCulloch. 2008. Correction to: A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-tree ring proxies. Energy and Environment, 19, 93-100. (http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/AGW/Loehle/)

Antarctic Ice has been recovering and is stable.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IM...anom.south.jpg

University of Illinois

And over the past decade global temperatures have been cooling, despite the rise in CO2.

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/MSUCRUCO2.jpg

Joseph D’Aleo, Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, 2009 This is a compilation of data from the most cited temperature and CO2 monitoring sources.

A report censored by the EPA because it did not fall into line with the "conventional" knowledge.

http://cei.org/news-release/2009/06/25/cei...dy-censored-epa

Remember every government agency's sole goal is perpetual existence. Here are the emails from a higher up at the EPA telling the scientist that his "comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision"

http://www.poligazette.com/2009/10/23/epa-...eptics-correct/

In the past didn't scientists debate facts to come to a conclusion. Now all I see are government funded scientists (gov agencies, the UN, Universities receiving government funds, etc) belittling any scientist that brings contradicting evidence to the table. Scientists from leading global institutions have published reports that are not only shunned by the government funded scientists, the government funded scientists launch personal attacks against the researchers that do not agree with them. Do you really want to trust a bunch of people who can't even engage in a debate about conflicting scientific points of view with trillions of dollars of taxpayer money?

I agree we need to cut back our energy imports/use. The truth is oil spills do occur, and there is very strong consensus they damage the environment. It is also proven that other toxins in industrial and consumer (including auto) waste and emissions are harmful to people. Also, the West receives most of our energy from sources hostile to our interests. These above factors in themselves give us strong incentives to become energy independent. That being said we need to find a way to achieve this without crippling our economy. The climate treaty being proposed in Copenhagen will not benefit anyone in the West.
12:46 October 30, 2009 by karex
You forget the rapid melting of the Siberian permafrost which has been trapping tons of methane gas under the ice. If this gets into the atmosphere it could cause an immediate catastrophe.
21:34 October 30, 2009 by Davyboy
Global warming is a con. Climate change has been happening for tens of thousands of years. Go to 'You Tube' and type in 'Lord Monckton'.

He is a member of the House of Lords in the UK. He recently went to the USA to debate 'global warming' with that con artist Al Gore. When he landed there, he was told by a member of the Democratic party that he would not be permitted to debate Gore because they (the Democrats) did'nt want want Gore to be 'humiliated' - that was the actual word used. Lord Monckton used to be a government science advisor to Margaret Thatcher.
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