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Poland says EU climate deal may be delayed

Poland may seek to delay a European Union deal on fighting climate change as experts warn the government that the plan will harm the country’s growth, fuel inflation and, possibly, undermine efforts to adopt the euro.

France hopes to clinch an agreement on the EU flagship program during its presidency over the EU in the H2 of 2008, but Poland believes April or May, 2009, may be a more realistic target as the plan needs deep revisions. Reaching an agreement around April next year would allow it to take into account the stance on climate change of a new US president due to be elected in November, he added.

EU leaders agreed in 2007 to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 20%, compared with 1990 levels, to fight global warming, and to get 20% of energy from renewable sources. Legislation spelling out how to achieve the targets is now being negotiated among the EU’s 27 governments and the European Parliament.

The governments’ decisions are taken by a qualified majority so Poland alone cannot block a deal. Poland is one of several east European countries suing the European Commission to get more carbon emissions permits for their coal-dependent industry and so cut the cost of the bloc’s climate change targets. (Reuters)