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EU welcomes Obama's climate change vow

The EU presidency welcomes US President Barack Obama's vow to lead the world in tackling climate change, as the EU prepared to unveil its own environmental and energy blueprint.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2009 21:44 IST

The EU presidency on Tuesday welcomed US President Barack Obama's vow to lead the world in tackling climate change, as the EU prepared to unveil its own environmental and energy blueprint.

"Europe has gained a strong partner," said Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursik, whose country holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

"Barack Obama is quickly implementing what he has promised. He acts efficiently," he added.

Obama, in an apparent swipe at former president George W. Bush's reluctance to take control of international efforts to combat climate change, said on Monday that "we will make it clear to the world that America is ready to lead."

"To protect our climate and our collective security, we must call together a truly global coalition," the president said at a White House ceremony.

Obama signed memoranda aimed at prodding the struggling US auto industry to design new fuel-efficient vehicles to lessen US dependence on energy sources which he said bankroll dictators, and to spur the US economy.

Eager to take the lead on climate change, the European Union aims to pile pressure on the United States and big emerging countries to sign up to an ambitious strategy to reduce greenhouse gases.

Last month European leaders approved a climate change action plan which the 27-nation bloc hopes will become a model for international negotiations in Copenhagen in December.

The European Commission will on Wednesday unveil a strategy for gradually ramping up investments aimed at tackling climate change to a target of 175 billion euros per year by 2020.

The overall EU goal is to prevent a global temperature increase of more than two degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels.

To do so it will encourage developed nations to commit to cut their emissions by 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The target for developing nations should be set at 15-30 percent, acccording to the EU's executive arm, with "significantly increased financial resources" required, including help from richer nations.

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