French attempts to craft a global warming pact to make the EU a world leader in tackling climate change are gridlocked, with governments unable to agree on how to share the pain and costs of slashing greenhouse gases by 20 per cent within 12 years.
Diplomats and officials warned that a European summit in Brussels would fail to agree on the means to the end of meeting the EU’s targets. The deal has to be struck by the end of the year for the package, which was agreed unanimously by European governments 18 months ago, to become European law.
But senior officials and diplomats doubt whether that will be possible despite the fanfare that accompanied the unveiling of the policy last year.
“The targets have been agreed and we have presented them all over the world,” said Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission chief. “There will be a real problem of credibility for Europe.”
He added: “Saving the planet is not an after-dinner drink, a digestif that you take or leave. Climate change does not disappear because of the financial crisis.”
Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president and current EU president, has been told that his proposals for the summit have no chance of being supported, with some of the 27 countries arguing that the financial crisis means that the Europeans can no longer afford the huge costs entailed.
— © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008
6 months ago