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Europe clinches deal to battle climate change

Source:  Copyright 2008, Reuters
Date:  December 12, 2008
Byline:  Pete Harrison and Ingrid Melander
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Europe secured the world's widest agreement to battle climate change on Friday after paying east European states to accept changes that will punish their heavily polluting power sectors and ramp up electricity prices.

The historic deal to cut carbon dioxide by a fifth by 2020 was secured despite an economic crisis by allowing a myriad of exemptions for industry, sparking criticism from environmental groups.

"This is a flagship EU policy with no captain, a mutinous crew and several gaping holes in it," said Sanjeev Kumar of environment pressure group WWF.

But French President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected that view, saying: "This is quite historic."

"You will not find another continent in this world that has given itself such binding rules as we have just adopted," he added.

The agreement came after a year-long battle dominated by a struggle between eastern and western Europe over the costs.

The nine east ...

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