Bellona gives thumbs up to EU’s consensus on climate financing prior to Copenhagen summit

World Economic Forum/Flickr

Publish date: November 2, 2009

Written by: Tone Foss Aspevoll

Translated by: Charles Digges

European Union leaders Friday who convened an autumn climate summit said they are now in agreement on negotiating a mandate for climate financing prior to negotiations on a new international climate agreement that will be hammered out in Copenhagen in December – an important step forward before the summit, says Bellona.

The EU has now agreed to back climate efforts in poverty stricken areas of the world that may cost as much as €100 billion beginning in 2020. The EU also agreed that public support from wealthier parts of the world would have to consist of €22 billion to €50 billion annually.

The EU has promised to pay a “fair share” of this amount.

EU leaders were also in agreement that poor nations need €591 million to €836 million annually in an initial phase between 2010 and 2013.

Bellona had over the past several days feared a collapse in the EU’s efforts to seek out common ground before Copenhagen, and the organisation is gratified by the current consensus.

“This is a large and meaningful sum of money,” said Frederic Hauge, Bellona’s president. “Even if Bellona might wish for more, this helps to contribute positively to the negotiations in Copenhagen.”

An important breakthrough
European Commission (EC) president José Manuel Barroso has called the agreement among EU nations an “important breakthrough.” And British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quotes by the BBC as saying the common atmosphere that prevailed “a success.”

“We were aware that unless the EU agreed to resolve some of the obstacles (to a common stance) the possibility of an agreement at the Copenhagen summit would have been much weaker,” said Brown.

Brown also announced a fast track programme to reduce CO2 emissions. This will come into force soon after the Copenhagen Summit, and will require contributions from the richest countries of €5 billion to €7 billion immediately.

Threats helped move things along
The EU’s top brass at the autumn summit held last week had struggled to formulate and distribute the bill for emissions cuts that they would like the rest of the to go along with at the Copenhagen summit. On Friday that agreement was reached.

A coalition of nine of the EU’s poorer member states threatened earlier in the meeting to block the consensus reached unless the rich countries agreed to pay more.

Cost distribution among the individual EU Member States has not yet been ironed out, and when financing will begin is voluntary. The details of how the costs will be enumerated by a working group in weeks to come.

“The EU now has a mandate, a strong mandate, and the EU is still in the lead on the climate issue,” said Sweden’s prime minister and EU president, Fredrik Reinfeldt, in remarks to NTB Norwegian television.

“Let’s hope others will follow,” he said.