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Countdown to climate pact

 Countdown to climate pact
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The final stages of EU debate over slashing greenhouse gases approaches.

The European governments, Commission and Parliament are preparing for three days of discussions starting next week, aimed at forging a deal on the EU climate energy package at the European Council on 17 December.

As France currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, its environment minister, Jean-Louis Borloo told the European Parliament: “We are working on something which, depending on how you look at CO2, is either the offspring of distress or the beginning of a great hope… new competitivity and a new form of economic development. The bottom line is it’s a bit of both. Our problem is to make sure to bring out the second option.”

Meanwhile, an official source said Berlin, Paris, London and Rome have agreed on phasing in cuts in cars’ CO2 emissions: the 120 gramme-per-kilometer standard for 2015 will apply to 65 percent of vehicles from 2012, and be stepped up from there.

Ferdinando Nelli-Feroci, Italy’s ambassador to the EU, said: “The European Investment Bank could activate a new financing instrument to develop new clean technology, clean transportation facilities, which the automobile industries could draw on to enact innovations which would let them adapt to much stricter CO2 reduction standards.”

Part of a French compromise proposal designed to overcome opposition to EU climate plans from some of the bloc’s heavy industries and newer member states is to identify those most exposed to foreign competition to grant them temporary exemptions from full CO2 permit auctioning.