EU Earmarks $3.6 Billion in Aid for Developing Countries

The agreement on short-term climate funding was reached after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels.

European Union is earmarking nearly $3.6 billion yearly in short-term aid for developing countries to adapt to climate change. At a summit in Brussels, EU leaders also agreed to cut their carbon emissions by 30 percent - if other developed countries followed suit.

The agreement on short-term climate funding was reached after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels. EU aid for developing countries will total about $7.2 billion between 2010-2012, with Britain, Germany and France contributing the lion's share. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency until January, announced the sum at a press conference.

"We of course are very pleased and satisfied that we [had] contributions from all member countries and that we also now show leadership in taking our fair share of the fast-start money that we know is important to get the global agreement in place and we of course now urge other developed parts of the world to make that same contribution so this will add up," said Mr. Reinfeld.

The EU aid may help boost negotiations at the climate change summit in Copenhagen. The United Nations is urging industrialized nations to contribute about $30 billion in short-term climate aid to poor nations.  Overall, the EU estimates about $150 billion in assistance will be needed by 2020. The money would help developing nations invest in things like coastal protection and renewable energy to help deal with climate change. Reinfeldt said Europe would contribute what he described as its "fair share."

EU leaders also agreed to further cut their carbon emissions from their pledged 20 percent to 30 percent by 2020 - but only if other industrialized nations make similar contributions.

"It's an offer but it's conditional. Therefore, we must see movement in other developed parts of the world before Europe is ready to move," he said.  "But well, we will show flexibility and ability to take decisions if that movement is going to happen."

Earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said they were urging the bloc to make an unconditional 30 percent emissions cut - a move supported by environmental groups like WWF. But a number of European businesses and some EU nations, particularly newer members, argue that deeper cuts will hurt their economic growth.

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