EU struggles to agree 2030 climate targets for October summit
European Union leaders face difficult negotiations to agree a package of climate change targets for 2030 at an end-of-October summit, with coal-reliant Poland leading objections, sources said Friday.
Plans to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent, make renewables account for 27 percent of energy use and set an energy savings target of 30 percent appear in draft guidelines for the summit conclusions, seen by AFP.
The EU had wanted to have an agreement on the targets, among the world's toughest, in place ahead of a summit in Paris in 2015 at which a new UN-backed global treaty on climate change will be agreed.
"The European Council will agree on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the European Union," said the draft prepared for the bloc's 28 member state leaders.
But the question of "burden sharing" is central to actually closing a deal, a European source said, with sharp differences between those dependent on fossil fuels, such as Poland, compared with France and Britain which favour nuclear, and Germany which is looking towards renewables.
"It's extremely difficult. Every country says its situation is special," the source said.
Poland's new prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, said earlier this month that her coal-reliant country would not rule out vetoing the high carbon cuts.
The Poles "want a cheque" to compensate them for their efforts to end their dependence on coal, the European source said, which other countries are opposed to at a time of tight budgets.
Slovakia and the Baltic countries are also cautious given the high cost of investment in new resources and technology, and the fact that they rely heavily on Russian gas, supplies of which could be disrupted this winter by the Ukraine crisis.
The draft said the summit, building on previous initiatives, will "also agree further actions reducing the EU's energy dependence and increasing its energy security".
Poorer EU countries could be given special help so as to "address particularly high additional investment needs" when it comes to introducing less-polluting but more expensive new technology, the draft says.
The plans were set out by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, earlier this year.
The proposed 2030 targets would build on the current programme, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2020, with renewables and savings also set at 20 percent.
© 2014 AFP