When it comes to ways to deal with our ever-warming planet, it all eventually boils down to cold, hard cash.

Whether it’s ploughing funds into R&D for new technologies or the potential financial impact on developing economies, lurking behind the melting ice caps, heat waves, floods and droughts are £££ (or whatever currency you covet).

This week, EU leaders put their heads together to try to agree on the amount of cash they’re willing to put into the global effort to tackle climate change, and the figures they’re willing to put on EU emission reduction targets.

This afternoon the European Council released its conclusions, backing ambitious emission reduction goals in the European Union, and emission reductions of at least 80 to 95 per cent across developed countries by 2050.

However, the powers that be are clear that money talks, and that a deal on financing will be a major part of discussions at the Copenhagen climate summit in December.

Internationally, financial public support of between €22 and € 50 billion (£20 and £45 billion) is thought to be needed every year by 2020 to deal with climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. In developing countries, the figure is expected to be nearer €100 billion.

As to how much the EU is willing to fork out, cards are being kept close to the EU chest. Member states are apparently ‘ready to contribute their fair share of these costs’ – but only on the condition that other key players make ‘comparable efforts’. The ‘we will if you will’ approach goes for the emission reduction targets too – it’s offer of 30 per cent reductions on 1990 levels by 2050 hinges on other countries doing their bit as well.

Hopefully when politicians start bartering with their billions in Copenhagen in just over a month’s time, there’ll remember that it’s the future of the planet they’re dealing with and not just their bottom lines.

Anna Lewcock

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