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Europe Sharply Divided Over Climate Policy

Barbara Lewis, Reuters

European ministers are sharply divided over proposed promises on carbon cuts as part of U.N. negotiations, a draft document shows, with Poland at the forefront of opposition.


A meeting of environment ministers in Luxembourg on October 14 is meant to agree a joint EU stance ahead of U.N. climate talks in Warsaw in November and December.

The EU and U.N. meetings will be litmus tests of whether the latest U.N. report on climate change is spurring or slowing the appetite for international action.

The draft seen by Reuters says the main outstanding issues for the European Union related to “mitigation commitments”, or efforts to make fresh promises before 2020 within the U.N. context.

“Enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition will pave the way for an ambitious 2015 international agreement,” it says.

Annotations to the draft say this is especially a problem for one delegation, which EU sources said is Poland.

Heavily dependent on carbon-intensive coal, Poland has repeatedly blocked EU efforts to deepen carbon cuts.

A Polish government spokesman said he could not comment further for now. The country’s environment minister has said the EU should make no extra promises before agreement on a new U.N. deal on climate change, expected in Paris in 2015.

Poland’s stance matters particularly because it is hosting the interim U.N. climate talks next month and in December.

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