Between €22-€50 billion a year would have to come from international public financing, but how much the EU would fork out will depend on "comparable commitments" from other countries, EU leaders said at the conclusion of a two-day summit on 30 October.
An agreement on the EU's 'fair share' of the lump sum stalled on disagreements about how the financial burden will be shared within the EU. The heads of state and government agreed to set up a working group "to take account of each country's financing capabilities," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after the summit.
Moreover, the leaders agreed that €5-€7 billion per year will have to be made available as fast-track funding between 2010 and 2012 before the entry into force of the new climate treaty. But the EU's share will only be determined after Copenhagen, the conclusions state.
Here, the Swedish Presidency, backed by the UK, Denmark and others, had to bow to the demands of a group of nine Eastern European member states led by Poland and Hungary, who were worried that they would end up paying more than they could afford and wanted to make any contributions to upfront funds voluntary.
The Swedish Presidency submitted new proposals this morning after reaching an agreement proved impossible on Thursday (29 October). The less prosperous member states refused to sign up to any agreement that would oblige them to pay more than their wealthier neigbours (EurActiv 30/10/09).
Ambitious long-term emission cut target
The leaders endorsed the long-term target of reducing the collective developed country emissions by 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 as agreed by environment ministers last week.
EU leaders talked up the agreement as a huge breakthrough in negotiations that have been dragging on for months.
"The EU has a very strong position, now that the countdown to Copenhagen has started. It's a decision that enables the EU to continue taking lead in the negotiations, a position that encourages others to deliver," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso argued that the EU had kept its leadership role. "Regarding climate change, this was an important breakthrough, which brings new momentum," he said.
But the leaders stressed that the agreement was entirely conditional on action by other developed countries. The EU is now looking to see what the US, Australia, Japan and Canada will bring to the table.
"That does not mean being naïve – our offer is not a blank cheque: we are ready to act if our partners deliver. If we want developing countries to come to the table with serious commitments, then we need developed countries to put money on the table for adaptation to climate change and to help finance developing countries' mitigation efforts," Barroso stated. "We need to put our money where our mouth is."
No decision on 'hot air'
However, the summit did not move on the issue of surplus emission allowances left over from the Kyoto Protocol. The conclusions simply state that unused Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), as the pollution permits are called, are likely to accrue and must be addressed "in a non-discriminatory manner, treating European and non-European countries equally".
The bulk of unused credits in Europe are in the hands of Eastern member states, which made clear statements during the summit that they would not part with their allowances. Germany, on the other hand, has been leading calls for all unused credits to be cancelled after Kyoto.
The Swedish Presidency is now likely to call an additional meeting of EU environment ministers to find common ground on how to handle the surplus credits.
Looking outside of Europe
Amid bickering among EU member states about internal burden sharing, some EU countries are now starting to look for alliances outside of Europe to ensure an ambitious outcome at the Copenhagen climate conference in December.
Sarkozy said that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were working together with Brazil to put forward a proposal for Copenhagen.
"We think it is very important that Europe mobilises the whole of poor countries and notably Africa on the same position as us," Sarkozy said. He envisioned a common axis between Europe, the emerging economies of Brazil and Mexico and developing countries to counter China, the US and India.