European Union leaders have reached a deal on a package of measures to fight global warming. The plan, agreed at the recent Brussels summit, sets out how 27 member-countries will cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020, compared with 1990 levels.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the summit chairman, announced that “quite historic” had happened in Brussels.
The measures, which will require approval by the European Parliament to become law, commit the EU to cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20% by 2020.
It must also increase renewable sources to 20% of total energy use and achieve a 20% cut in energy use. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the plans “the most ambitious proposals anywhere in the world”.
“Europe has today passed its credibility test. We mean business when we talk about climate,” he said, inspiring to US President-elect Barack Obama to follow Europe’s lead.
Meanwhile, delegates at a UN conference in the Polish city of Poznan have been trying to find a way forward in their attempts to reach a climate change deal by the end of 2009 in Copenhagen.
Al Gore won the biggest applause of the day with a speech predicting a far more active US climate change policy under President-elect Barack Obama.
One of the reasons Mr Gore gave for his optimism was that several developing countries have come forward with firm pledges on restraining the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, including China, Brazil and Mexico.
UN officials at the conference said the EU’s climate deal was a success and would contribute towards an agreement in Copenhagen, although environmental groups said they were concerned about a number of concessions it offered to industry.