Brussels, 19 March – European leaders meeting in Brussels today failed to cough up the cash needed to finance the fight against climate change, provoking condemnation from Friends of the Earth Europe.
Heads of the 27 European Union countries spent most of their time discussing multi-billion Euro responses to the financial and economic crises and did not commit a single cent of the money Europe must contribute to international efforts to deal with global warming.
Financing is key to getting developing countries to sign-up to stronger climate action due to be negotiated at a UN meeting in Copenhagen this December. Poor countries will not agree to a new treaty unless they have assurances from the developed world – which has the historical responsibility for emitting the gases which cause climate change – that it will significantly reduce its own emissions and contribute to their adaptation and mitigation efforts. But so far the EU has not put any figures on the funds it will make available.
“The EU has been guilty of inaction for some time, now this inaction is turning into deliberate blocking of progress. Europe must start to pay its climate debts and come up with at least 35 billion Euro now,” said Sonja Meister, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.
“The EU is jeopardising the chances of a satisfactory and just solution to the climate crisis. If industrialised countries fail to act now, climate change will cost many times more than the current economic crisis and threaten the lives of millions of people worldwide.”
Earlier this week Yvo de Boer, the United Nations top climate official, suggested that the EU was reneging on existing international agreements by proposing that funds previously promised to developing countries will only flow if they first act to decarbonise their economies – something which is clearly against what was agreed at UN talks in 2007.
“By trying to impose conditions on developing countries for climate funds, the EU is breaking the promises it made in Bali,” added Sonja Meister.
Friends of the Earth believes that if EU governments are serious about tackling climate change they must urgently put legislation in place to ensure significant annual cuts in domestic greenhouse gas emissions adding up to at least 40% emission cuts across Europe. 
NOTES Friends of the Earth groups in 17 countries of Europe are running The Big Ask campaign calling on their governments to commit to annual cuts in emissions.
The Big Ask calls on for the EU to commit to at least 40 per cent domestic emission cuts by 2020 and at least 35 billion Euro by 2020 for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. The Big Ask has already led to a groundbreaking climate law in the UK.