by RAY FLEMING

THE European Union summit did not produce the kind of tough decision on climate change that would have set an example to other industrialised countries for the crucial UN conference in Copenhagen in six weeks time. The EU is already committed to cutting its carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 and by more if other countries do the same but the issue that remains unresolved is the extent of the financial assistance that industrialised nations will provide to enable newly developing countries such as Brazil, China and India to sign up to making cuts in their carbon emissions as they grow. It is a matter of equity; America, Europe and Japan expanded industrially without regard to carbon emissions and benefitted from that freedom.

The Brussels summit agreed to call for a global fund of $100 billion a year to be provided by industrialised countries for developing countries but could do no more than suggest that the EU's share might be about $10 billion. Even this low estimate was opposed by Eastern Europe members of the EU who consider themselves to be developing countries in an industrial sense. The position of the United States is of key importance and it follows that final commitments cannot be undertaken until the US Congress clarifies its position. The Brussels summit did not move far forward, but it avoided any backsliding. There is much to do by all sides in the next six weeks.

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