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Financing the fight against climate change - 10/09/2009

Logo of the Copenhagen conference  © cop15.dk

Commission sets out first finance proposals for Copenhagen pact on climate change.

In an effort to end an impasse in international climate talks, the commission has published a plan for financing the fight against global warming in developing countries. It proposes an EU contribution of between €2bn and €15bn a year by 2020.

The plan provides a starting point for discussions in the parliament and council to define the EU’s position on one of the toughest issues facing the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

With just three months to go, international negotiations to prepare for the conference have stalled over the question of how to help developing countries adapt to and limit global warming.

The EU and other economic powers agree on the need to help defray the costs of reducing greenhouse gases emitted by developing countries. But there is still no consensus on what those costs are and how much should be borne by developed nations.

The costs of containing global warming are expected to soar in years to come. The EU estimates that developing countries will need €100bn a year by 2020 to prevent average global temperatures from rising more than 2°C. That threshold is important because it minimises the risk of dangerous runaway climate change.

The commission calculates that between €22bn and €50bn in international public funding will be needed, with each country’s contribution based on its responsibility for emissions and its ability to pay. In the EU’s case, the contribution could be between €2bn and €15bn a year by 2020. The rest would come from other industrialised nations and advanced developing nations like China and India.

The proposal also calls for an EU contribution of between €500 million and €2.1bn for 2010-12, but given the importance of acting quickly, the commission is suggesting more.

The aim of the conference in December is to produce a new and more ambitious global commitment to tackling climate change. The current treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, expires at the end of 2012.

Kyoto placed no demands on developing countries, but now industrialised countries want emerging economies like India and China to join in and eventually cut emissions.

The UN is convening a world summit later this month to discuss climate change.

EU climate action

UN climate change conference in Copenhagen

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