The European Union has unveiled an international plan to curb climate change
that includes promises of billions of dollars in aid for the world's poorest
countries to fight global warming.
Announced in Brussels, Wednesday, the plan amounts to the European Union's answer for the world to tackle climate change, with the UN-sponsored climate change talks planned for December in Copenhagen.
The EU proposal calls for a new climate agreement that would reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 30 percent of 1990 levels by 2020. T he EU plan had called for 20 percent cuts for that period, but the bloc said it would ratchet that up to 30 percent, if other nations joined in.
But there is an enormous price tag to do so, under the European plan. EU estimates say that the world will need $71.1 billion a year in investments to meet those global warming commitments by 2030.
It is also calling for richer nations to generously assist poorer ones in climate change programs - although spells out no specific dollar amounts.
And it suggests that China, Brazil and India join the world's wealthiest nations in agreeing to make mandatory carbon emissions cuts and to sign up for an emissions trading program that Europe is already embarked on.
European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told reporters it is critical that the world act swiftly.
"This agreement should be concluded at the end of the United Nations [climate change] conference in Copenhagen at the end of this year," he said. "I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get an agreement that is strong and effective. With global warming accelerating, this is almost certainly our last chance to bring climate [change] under control before it pushes to a point where the impact will be irreversible."
Some environmental groups have criticized the EU plan, saying Europe is not being ambitious enough and that there should be concrete financial commitments for helping poorer nations.