Squabbling threatens E.U.’s climate goals
The European Union’s climate goals emerged intact but shaky from a squabble-y summit held this week. The bloc is still aiming for a December deadline to finalize a specific action plan to reduce emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. But under pressure from seven Eastern European nations and Italy, which fear the cost of cutting greenhouse gases amidst an economic crisis, the bloc also conceded to allow any member nation to veto the plan. And that’s a very real possibility: “We don’t think this is the moment to push forward on our own like Don Quixote,” says Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. “We have time.” To the contrary, enviros hope desperately that an agreement will be solidified while France has the E.U.’s rotating presidency; in January, that leadership will shift to the Czech Republic, which is less likely to aggressively pursue ambitious climate goals.