EU pledges billions for post-Kyoto climate agreement

Assuming an ambitious global climate change agreement is reached in Copenhagen in December, the European Commission estimates that developing countries will need financing of roughly €100 billion a year by 2020 to mitigate their emissions and adapt to climate change.

Much of the finance needed will have to come from domestic sources and an expanded international carbon market (e.g. emission taxes on global shipping, aviation and industry), but according to the Commission, international public financing of some €22–50 billion a year is also likely to be necessary.

In a policy paper presented on 10 September, the Commission proposes that industrialised nations and economically more advanced developing countries should provide this public financing in line with their responsibility for emissions and ability to pay. Depending on the weight of each factor, this would set the EU’s contribution at somewhere between 10 and 30 per cent of the total, i.e. an EU contribution of some €2–15 billion a year by 2020.

But environmentalists said the figure for the EU was too low. “The EU is trying to get away with leaving a tip rather than paying its share of the bill to protect the planet’s climate,”

Greenpeace campaigner Joris den Blanken said. Greenpeace calls on industrialised countries to honour their climate pledge to the tune of at least €110 billion annually, and for the EU to commit €35 billion (on top of existing development assistance).

The Commission had previously indicated the EU might pay €13–24 billion, but retracted those numbers after deciding the United States should carry a heavier financial burden to compensate for its relatively modest emissions cuts.

Sources: Policy paper from the European Commission, 10 September 2009:, and Greenpeace press release

In this issue