European leaders pledge cash for climate change
Leaders of the countries of the European Union agreed Friday to contribute 7.2 billion euros ($11.14 billion Cdn) over the next three years to help poorer countries grapple with global warming.
Following two days of difficult negotiations in Brussels, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said that all 27 EU members will contribute to the short-term fund.
The U.K. promised $650 million each year, and said it wants to push that figure, and the EU total, higher next week at the Copenhagen climate summit.
France and Germany said they would contribute $622 million each year.
U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said EU nations need to work together to provide the finances so that developing counties can change their policies
"There's never been any doubt that we would have to put up some money from the richest countries," he said.
EU leaders could not come to an agreement on a firm figure for the fund on Thursday, and worked through the night to strike a deal.
The EU leaders also said they would cut their emissions by 30 per cent from 1990 levels, by 2020. However, they said they would only keep that commitment if other polluting countries make similar pledges.
Reinfeldt said the EU is looking for bigger cuts from Canada and the United States.
The announcement comes just days before world leaders gather at the Copenhagen climate change conference where they will try to reach a deal on greenhouse gas emissions.
At the Copenhagen summit, delegates have struggled to find an agreement between developing countries and wealthy nations over who should shoulder the cost burden.
Critics of Friday's announcement said the short-term funding plan just avoid longer-term needs.
"Climate change will not end in three years ... so neither should the flow of cash," said Joris den Blanken, a climate expert with Greenpeace.