EU funding pledge both hits, and misses, opportunity to add momentum to COP15

13 December 2009

Friday's EU Council decision to pledge €2.4 billion a year for the next 3 years to support developing countries' efforts to combat climate change sent a message of hope to next week's high-level climate negotiations in Copenhagen, at a time when finance is rapidly becoming one of the crunch issues.

The pledge has helped restore some of the EU's credibility and leadership in tackling climate change. And it threw down the gauntlet to other industrialized countries to come up with the remaining money to reach the €7 billion needed to kick start the transition to a low carbon economy.

However, on the more important issue of the mid-term finance package,  Member States were unable to go beyond their earlier resolution that €100 billion a year is needed by 2020 and that the EU should contribute its fair share. By not coming up with concrete numbers, the EU missed a major opportunity to inject real momentum into the UN process. 

On the other crucial area where there are major divisions in Copenhagen - emissions targets for 2020 - the EU missed another leadership opportunity.  Although the Council reiterated its promise to reduce EU emissions by 30% if other countries make comparable commitments, many had hoped that European leaders would go one step further and commit to the 30% target immediately, as proposed by France and the UK.

Many studies had  shown that Europe's businesses would benefit from the move by  being the first to adopt a range of new carbon technologies and gain international market share.




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