Europe commits €7.2bn to "fast start" climate fund

Finance, Euros

European leaders have agreed to contribute €7.2bn in "fast start" financing from 2010 to 2012 to help the world's poorest countries combat climate change. The agreement was the main result of a two-day EU summit which closed in Brussels on Friday.

All 27 member states plus the European Commission will contribute to the total, which amounts to €2.4bn annually over three years. France and the UK said they would provide around €1bn of the annual contribution. They say around 20% should be spent on forest protection.

Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said the funding would come from a combination of new money and funds already pledged for adaptation. He urged other developed countries to make "similar contributions" that would add up to a total of €7bn annually.

There were few details on the EU's contribution to longer term financing for climate adaptation and mitigation. France and the UK called for "innovative financing mechanisms" such as revenues from the auction of carbon allowances and a global tax on financial transactions to generate the necessary funds.

In a resolution European leaders reiterated their willingness to adopt a 30% emission reduction target if other developed countries show similar ambition. A final decision will be made in the last days of the Copenhagen climate summit next week.

A resolution on the EU's sustainable development strategy was also adopted. It echoes the conclusions of a recent progress report. "Significant additional efforts are needed" to fight climate change, reduce energy use in the transport sector and reverse the loss of biodiversity, the leaders said.

Follow Up:

EU summit homepage, plus summit resolution and Swedish presidency press release. See also France and UK joint statement and UK press release, plus reactions from Greenpeace, WWF and EEB.