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EU Turns Climate Change Into Political Weapon In Brexit Trade Negotiations


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain’s refusal to seal climate commitments in a new deal with the European Union to govern their relations after Brexit has become a stumbling block in their deadlocked talks and raises the risk of future trade disputes.

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and British Prime Minister’s Europe adviser David Frost 5 are seen at start of the first round of post -Brexit trade deal talks between the EU and the United Kingdom, in Brussels, Belgium March 2, 2020. Oliver Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

While Britain has joined the global Paris agreement to fight climate change and has its own ambitious emissions-cutting goals, London has refused to make binding commitments in the area in the new deal it is seeking with the EU from 2021.

“This creates big problems with the level playing field and is increasingly politically sensitive in the EU,” said an official from the 27-nation bloc.

Britain has a legally-binding target to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The EU’s executive Commission wants to set the same goal for the bloc, although it has yet to secure the support of all member states.

Yet their bust-up over climate provisions in the new deal reflects fundamental differences about the nature of their future relationship.

“The EU is trying to put this into the trade deal in another example of how it is seeking to continue influencing domestic UK policies,” said a British official.

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