Denmark “confident” on EU deal

Prospects to create green jobs and a drive to cut reliance on Russian gas should help convince the European Union to agree a climate deal this year, according to Denmark's climate and energy minister. An agreement would improve the outlook for a global deal in Copenhagen in 2009, the minister, Connie Hedegaard, told Reuters.


"I’m sure a compromise will be found," Hedegaard said of EU efforts. "It may not be very beautiful, but I’m confident." Approval by EU leaders of a package of measures to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 would improve prospects for a global post-Kyoto climate deal, she said. Agreement on the broader plan is meant to culminate at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in the Danish capital next December.


Her comments stressed that failure to reach an EU agreement would mean Europe could lag behind in a global shift to new "green" jobs in renewable energies, such as solar or wind power. In addition, Hodegaard said that East European countries – many of which are wary of emissions cuts – could benefit from energy efficiency, cuts in use of greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels, and a diversification of energy supplies.


Governments are beginning to realise, she said, that "it’s very bad for the whole of Europe if we protect the industries of yesterday instead of preparing the responses that will make us rich tomorrow."


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