EU agrees final stance for Copenhagen climate talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders agreed an offer Friday to put on the table at global climate talks in Copenhagen in December after healing a rift over how to split the bill.

Developing countries will need 100 billion euros ($148 billion) a year by 2020 to battle climate change, and 22-50 billion of this will have to come from the public purse in rich countries worldwide, rather than industry, leaders said.

The two-day EU summit secured a complex negotiating mandate for the Copenhagen talks to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations anti-climate change scheme expiring in 2012.

“We managed to reach an agreement on climate finance,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said. “The EU now has a strong position in view of Copenhagen.”

Success in Copenhagen is likely to hinge on money.

Developing countries say they will not sign up to tackling climate change without enough funds from rich nations, which bear most of the responsibility for damaging the atmosphere by fuelling their industries with oil and coal over decades.

Developing countries might use such funds to adapt their agriculture or find new sources of water in drought zones.

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“I think this is a breakthrough that takes us forward to Copenhagen,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters.


The 27-country EU pledged to strengthen planned emissions cuts to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 if other countries made similar commitments.

But they put on hold earlier plans to come up with “fast start” financing for developing nations in the three years before any new climate deal takes effect.

East European countries said the summit had settled a rift over how to split the EU’s portion of the bill in a way that would not hurt their economies as they recover from crisis.

“We consider this a success for Poland,” said the Polish minister for Europe, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz. “We want to develop quickly. We don’t want to become the museum of folklore of eastern Europe.”

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A formula will be calculated that “takes fully into account the ability to pay,” the text of the agreement said. Leaders fell short of agreeing a concrete formula now and handed that job to a new working party.

South African cleric Desmond Tutu criticized Poland in a letter to EU leaders for resisting giving support to developing countries after it had received so much help itself in the past.

“Poland is among the 50 richest countries in the world, with a per capita gross domestic product three times that of China and 20 times that of Mozambique,” Tutu wrote.

Reporting by Pete Harrison, John O’Donnell, Marcin Grajewski, Time Castle and David Brunnstrom, writing by Pete Harrison, editing by Timothy Heritage and Dale Hudson