Banking crisis “no bar to climate deal”

Tackling climate change will help, not hinder, efforts to overcome the global financial crisis, the European Union's environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, said on Tuesday. But critics say the financial crisis now makes it very difficult for countries to invest in clean energy, Reuters reported.


“Fighting climate change means investment in energy efficiency, promoting renewable sources and providing incentives to stimulate the economy and contribute to growth,” Dimas said in Warsaw. With representatives of dozens of countries, he was attending preparatory talks ahead of a United Nations conference in the Polish city of Poznan in December.


The European Union argues that a low-carbon economy will reduce the bloc’s exposure to volatile prices of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and will create jobs. However, Poland and other former communist member states have expressed concern that curbing carbon dioxide (CO2) will hinder their economic growth by sharply increasing energy prices. “Poland does not fear reducing emissions by 20% by 2020,” said the country’s environment minister, Maciej Nowicki. “But the way of achieving this is at present not acceptable.”


The 27-nation bloc has set a goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, against 1990 levels, by 2020. This would be done, in part, through an emissions-trading scheme by which power generators and heavy industries would pay for permits to pollute.