EU shaping its vision for Copenhagen

Poor countries will need to be given about 100 billion euros (US$142 billion) a year by 2020 to help them cut greenhouse-gas emissions in the fight against climate change, Reuters reported, citing a draft report for European Union finance ministers. The document, along with a competitive-bidding plan for the funding, shows an EU vision taking shape ahead of global climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

The key issue in Copenhagen will be finding the funds needed to persuade developing nations to reduce their emissions, and further money to help them adapt to climate change – a problem they say has been caused by rich, industrialised nations. Finance ministers are to fine-tune the EU’s position this week.

Under the competitive bidding plan, poor nations would present their most cost-effective projects for cutting carbon emissions in order to win funding from richer countries. From half to two-thirds of the cheapest options for cutting greenhouse gases up to 2020 or 2030 are in developing countries, say the EU’s economic policy committee and the economic and financial committee.

Emissions cuts by poor nations would partly pay for themselves because cleaning up power generation and industry also reduces consumption of expensive fossil fuels. However, an extra 100 billion euros of investments annually still would be needed by 2020 to clean up industry and energy sectors, stop the destruction of rain forests and curb agricultural emissions.

Beyond the cost of cutting their own emissions, poor nations also will need help with the costs of adapting to climate change – developing drought-resistant crops, building levees against rising sea levels or finding new sources of fresh water. While the precise adaptation cost in all developing countries is difficult to estimate, the report gave a rough figure of 23 billion to 54 billion euros per year in 2030.

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