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EU eyes climate fund to win east Europe backing

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

Eastern European states could receive billions of euros in funding to secure their support on Friday for an EU plan to fight climate change, but environmental groups said the deal was a sell-out to industry.

The European Union hopes to clinch a historic deal on Friday to cut carbon dioxide by a fifth by 2020 -- the biggest step worldwide to avert global warming -- but member states facing an economic crisis have won a myriad of exemptions.

"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.

European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso rejected that view.

"Today, we give binding commitments," he said. "We are by far the ones with the most ambition to fight climate change, so the idea that we are watering it down is completely nonsense."

The nine east European nations are seen as the final main blockage to agreeing a package of ...

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