France has warned that pollution negotiations among the 27 EU countries will be tricky. The French European Union presidency, for the second half of this year, said its job would be to balance the interests of western Europe with those of eastern Europe, which fears emissions curbs will push up the price of electricity and stunt economic growth. International talks on the climate are scheduled for December.
French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, with peers from other EU nations meeting in Paris, said: “This is the first time that a region of the world has decided to fundamentally modify its economies, industries and energy to fully re-enter the century of rarity, rarity of the fruits of nature, of diversity, of oxygen… rarity of certain energies.”
Several eastern European states are pushing for the EU to overhaul the Emission Trading Scheme, that makes companies pay for permits to emit CO2. Borloo has said that France will not support such changes, but will back a redistribution of the proceeds from the scheme to help countries modernise their energy sectors.