EU putting more money on the table in United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
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EU leaders say they have agreed to commit 2.4 billion euro (3.6 billion US dollars) a year until 2012 to help poorer countries combat global warming. EU leaders also agreed to reduce their emissions by 30 percent of 1990 levels. read the original article here.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (photo above right) says the offer "puts Europe in a leadership role in Copenhagen."

All 27 members of the European Union agreed on the figure after two days of difficult talks at a summit in Brussels.

The leaders failed Thursday to come up with a firm figure for the fund, an embarrassing setback for a bloc that was long at the forefront of the fight against global warming. Smaller eastern EU states were reluctant to donate as they struggle with rising government debt and high unemployment in the wake of the financial crisis.

Yet on Friday, EU leaders reached a final figure of 3.6 billion US dollars a year for the next three years, with Britain, France and Germany each contributing about 20 percent. Britain is pushing to raise the figure higher at the Copenhagen talks.

Donations by some EU countries are thought to be only a token to reach a unanimous agreement.

The climate money is meant to go toward a global 10 billion US dollars annual fund for short-term help to poor countries, particularly in Africa, adapt to the effects of global warming before a new climate treaty being negotiated in Copenhagen comes into force in 2012.

Critics noted, however, the 10 billion-dollars-a-year aid pales in comparison to the huge stimulus packages and bank bailouts paid by many governments in the wake of the global financial meltdown.

The EU leaders also pledged to reduce their emissions by 30 percent of 1990 levels by 2020 — but are still demanding that other leading polluters make comparable commitments first.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the pledge "conditional."

"We will see if there is a move on the part of the other developed countries during the Copenhagen summit," Reinfeldt said, noting in particular the United States and Canada.

(Photo: Scanpix/Reuters)

AP/Nanet Poulsen (article updated) 11/12/2009 13:45