EU to aim for 60% to 80

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A draft agreement being discussed by EU leaders at the climate change summit in Brussels aims for a 60% to 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

As we have previously reported the main contention of the agreement has centered around whether targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 should be binding and achieved through renewables. Chief among those protesting the bill are France, which wants nuclear power included as a clean source and the Czech Republic which fears the move from cheap coal power to more expensive renewable sources such as wind.

The agreement has been led by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who has been arguing against claims that the agreement is unrealistic, costly and bureaucratic. She has also stressed the need for a global agreement on climate change, arguing that the US, Russia and Asia should be held to carbon reduction targets.

"Europe only produces 15% of global CO2," Ms Merkel said. "The real climate problem will not be solved by Europe alone."

Others believe that the UK alone produces 15% of the world's carbon dioxide putting Europe's output much higher.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist March 2007