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Tough talks as EU tackles climate change

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Tough talks as EU tackles climate change

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A stormy meeting is forecast as Europe tries to tackle deep differences in its approach to climate change. Environment ministers are in Luxembourg, pushing ahead with an ambitious plan to cut CO2 emissions by a fifth by 2020, despite opposition from parts of the bloc.

Many western European nations accept the need to act quickly, but former Communist countries, and Italy, are crying foul. Rome, in particular, wants to modify the plan, saying it would cost too much.

The EU intends to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 percent, cut energy consumption by the same amount, and pour more effort into renewable energy sources. Eastern European states say the plan will cripple heavy industry, a view shared by Italy. The waters are further muddied by the world economic crisis, where a looming recession threatens to derail the plan. Intense negotiations are expected between now and December, if any progress is to be made.