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EU split over climate change goal

October 30, 2009|Associated Press

BRUSSELS — The European Union fought Thursday to live up to its self-proclaimed leadership on combating climate change, with the 27 EU leaders at odds over how much to offer poorer nations to join the global battle.

EU members failed to agree on a sum for climate change funding for developing countries during a first set of talks on Thursday, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said, promising to make new efforts to strike a deal on the second day of talks here today.

"On climate, we are not ready yet. . . . We have not solved it," he told reporters after leading the talks.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said EU leaders "have to achieve" agreement today on offering billions of euros to developing nations, which would prove Europe's commitment to tackling climate change ahead of U.N. talks on a new greenhouse gas pact in Copenhagen.

The leaders did agree on a crucial issue for the union's future, diplomats said -- concessions to the Euro-skeptic Czech president to persuade him to sign a reform treaty strengthening the bloc's diplomatic power and creating the post of a fixed EU president.

Nine eastern EU states said earlier that they would rather walk away from the two-day summit without an agreement than be forced into a deal for billions of euros that would stretch their budgets.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the stakes were too high to bicker over who should shoulder how much of the burden.

"Unless we have a program for financing the action we're taking against climate change, then we will not get an agreement at Copenhagen," where the U.N. climate conference kicks off Dec. 7, Brown said.

The EU executive commission says developing nations would need annual help of $148 billion by 2020, of which EU governments and companies should contribute up to $59 billion.

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