EU leaders met in Brussels on Thursday with a view to striking a deal on climate change and sign up to binding targets for 2030.
The 28-member bloc is trying to agree a unified position ahead of key talks in Paris next year.
The European Commission, the EU executive, has laid out three 2030 targets. It suggests cutting emissions by 40 percent from 1990; using ‘green’ sources’ to generate at least 27 percent of energy, and boost energy efficiency by 30 percent.
But a substantive agreement looks unlikely with member states divided on how to go.
Poland, which relies heavily on the coal industry for its energy, opposes any pact that might put jobs at risk.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron fears that signing up to any ‘red tape’ could hand a boost to Eurosceptics at home.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “The negotiations will not be easy and I can’t say yet if there will be a result! Germany supports a binding reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030 by 40 percent,”
Germany and France, joined by Scandinavian countries, support tougher targets.
The balance for policymakers to strike will be keeping industry and environmentalists satisfied.
“If there isn’t an agreement in Brussels among the countries that are furthest ahead on this issue, how are we going to convince the Chinese or the Americans or the poorer countries?” said French President François Hollande as he arrived in the Belgian capital.
The state of the EU economy is another big issue to be discussed, with France and Italy being rapped for missing the bloc’s deficit spending targets.
British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters that he had “worries about the state of other European economies.”
“I’ll be wanting to hear about plans other have to make it easier to employ people, to deregulate, to reform, to make sure the European economies grow so the the British economy can continue growing,” he said.