Europe laments 'lack of ambition' in climate deal
European leaders expressed widespread disappointment Saturday at a deal brokered at the UN climate summit, lamenting that their ambitions for deep emission cuts had not been matched by others.openhagen--While leaders said the agreement between a core group of leaders in Copenhagen was better than nothing, they made little effort to mask their sense of let-down, especially over the failure of developing nations to sign up to binding targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"Let's be honest, this is not a perfect agreement, it will not solve the climate pressures, the climate threat to mankind," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency.
Jose Manuel Barroso, head of the EU commission, said the lack of a legally binding agreement was a "matter of concern".
"This accord is better than no accord, (but) it wasn't a huge step," he told reporters.
"The level of ambition is not what we were hoping for."
The EU unilaterally agreed last December to cut its emissions by 20 percent by 2020 over 1990 levels, and had promised to raise that figure to 30 percent if others followed suit in Copenhagen.
"We came here to try and put positive energy into this process," said Reinfeldt.
But hopes that the 30 percent pledge would inspire others proved wide of the mark, with neither China nor the United States -- the world's two biggest polluters -- making fresh offers.
Asked at a press conference about China's position, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown took a swipe at Beijing for "clinging to their version of what an international organisation should not do."
Brown said that an agreement at Copenhagen--which still needs to be approved by the 194 UN members gathered in the Danish capital--should serve only as a first step towards a legally-binding treaty.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she viewed the outcome with mixed emotions, saying "the only alternative to an agreement would have been a failure."
Merkel, who has offered to host a follow-up meeting in mid-2010, said that the powers of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) needed to be beefed up, along the lines of the UN's World Health Organisation.
"What we need is a UN environment organisation that could control the implementation of the climate process," she said.
Like his colleagues, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the deal was the only one that could be reached after the summit had revealed deep rifts.
"The agreement is not perfect but it's the best one possible," Sarkozy told reporters.