Global Politics

Will financial crisis curb E.U. climate control?

The E.U.'s 27 heads of state have been patting themselves on the back for their quick moves to save European banks but that will also strain state funds and some worry that will hurt efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, French President Sarkozy insisted an agreement on greenhouse gas emission reductions would be reached this year. The E.U. has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by the end of the next decade, and it has a complex plan to encourage E.U. countries to follow their commitment. But the political will to implement the plan has been flagging during the financial crisis. Germany for example is worried its carmakers will move abroad if they punish them too much for environmental causes. But the E.U. is also worried about the former Soviet countries that depend heavily on coal to power their countries. The Polish president says the commitments are impossible for countries like him. The E.U. has been hinting it might reduce some greenhouse gas rules, especially for offsetting�which allows European countries to skirt its environmental duties at home if it invests in environmental causes abroad. But ideas like this upset conservationists and this analyst says offsetting removes the incentive to invest in alternative energy, for example. Europe, she says, needs to show its fighting greenhouse gas emissions at home.

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