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EU: global warming goals tough on poor nations

EU: global warming goals tough on poor nations

The recession has caused such havoc with the budgets of EU nations that poor countries cannot count on much cash from Europe to help them meet their climate change goals, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Tuesday.
Reinfeldt, whose country has the European Union presidency in the second half of 2009, said too many countries in the world think fighting global warming is only about resources. "That, I think, is the wrong perception," he said.
Almost all EU nations have excessive deficits as a result of the recession, Reinfeldt said, adding that the fight against global warming is more "about energy efficiency" than paying cash to save energy.
He said Sweden has shown growth and energy savings can go hand in hand. Its economy has grown by 50 percent since 1990, while the country saved energy and imposed the world's highest carbon tax on fossil fuels for industry, households, transport and agriculture.
A U.N. conference in December in Copenhagen will try to reach a new global agreement to fight global warming and replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The Kyoto deal required 37 industrial countries to reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases by 5 percent from 1990 levels.
It left poor nations off the hook, and negotiations in the past 18 months have deadlocked because of industrial countries' demands that developing countries spell out how they intend to contribute to combating climate change under a new deal. Poor nations want specific commitments from the richer countries on deep C02 emission cuts.
The Europeans were the first to pledge a reduction figure _ 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, rising to a 30 percent cut if other countries sign on.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would bring American emissions down to about 4 percent below 1990. EU officials have said more is needed. A similar bill still must pass the U.S. Senate, where opposition is expected to be tougher.