France, Poland hold talks on European climate deal
AFP - Sunday, December 7
GDANSK, Poland (AFP) - - The leaders of France and Poland began talks Saturday in an attempt to iron out differences over Europe's troubled climate pact, set to be adopted next week by the 27-member European Union.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who also presides over the EU until the end of the year, and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk met in the Baltic coastal city of Gdansk.
The two leaders were later due to be joined by the prime ministers of eight ex-communist states which have baulked at adopting the EU climate change package fearing the impact it might have on their economies.
"We have to find the right path to a compromise. If we cannot, by the end of the luncheon, reach an agreement, then the night of December 11 will probably be very long," said a member of the French delegation.
The EU hopes to seal a deal on its climate package during a summit of bloc leaders in Brussels on December 11-12, that would then be voted on by the EU parliament before the end of the year.
As the Gdansk talks got underway, 10,000 delegates from 192 nations were locked in United Nations climate change negotiations -- set to end December 12 -- some 300 kilometres (185 miles) to the south in the city of Poznan.
Participants in the UN meeting, tasked with forging a new global climate accord to take effect after current Kyoto Protocol commitments expire in 2012, are watching to see how the EU talks unfold.
If Europe can prevent its climate plan from unravelling, it would send a stong signal to other nations, negotiators in Poznan and Gdansk said.
"Even if they make an announcement before the end of the conference (in Poznan), it would really be good news," said one expert at the UN forum.
"It might not change the course of the negotiations, but it would certainly change the general mood."
Europe has set a triple "20" objective for 2020: slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent compared to 1990, increasing renewable energy's share of the market to 20 percent, and improving energy efficiency by 20 percent.
The EU climate-energy plan, covering the period 2013-2020, would replace its current system of trading carbon pollution quotas, and could become a model for a global scheme.
The main sticking point has been over how the pollution permits will be allocated.
Poland and other EU newcomers have opposed the original proposal to begin full auctioning of CO2 emission quotas for industry in 2013, arguing it would see energy prices skyrocket and growth in their emerging economies nosedive.
Relying on CO2-intensive coal-fired plants for 94 percent of its electricity, Poland threatened to veto the entire EU environmental package if a compromise on the cost of CO2 emission quotas is not found.
The ex-Soviet bloc countries have said they need a substantially longer transition period before switching entirely to the auction system.
The other eight nations taking part in the Gdansk meeting are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.
Green groups watching from the sidelines are worried that Sarkozy will cede too much in order to insure that an EU climate deal is sealed.
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Related Articles: World
US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,209AP - 19 minutes ago
Former leftist guerrilla to travel to France with BetancourtAFP - 20 minutes ago
Biographical information on Eric ShinsekiAP - 26 minutes ago
Chavez rallies supporters for term-limit battleAP - 33 minutes ago
Israel eases traffic restriction in West Bank cityAP - 1 hour 3 minutes ago
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk before a meeting in Gdansk. The leaders of France and Poland have begun talks in an attempt to iron out differences over Europe's troubled climate pact -- set to be adopted next week by the 27-member European Union.
Most Popular – World
Diamond thieves pull off 100-million-dollar Paris heist
Do not disturb eggs: MP reveals Britain's oddest laws
Girl, 8, among 17 dead in Manila shoot-out: police
Oil price falls below $40
Cruise ship runs aground in Antarctica
View Complete List »