Climate talks hung in the balance last night with Britain pushing for a global deal to cut emissions in poorer countries which would cost British taxpayers £6billion.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told world leaders to commit to binding targets for greenhouse gases to keep global warming within 2c by the end of the century.
Yesterday he said he was hopeful that the ‘high ambition’ group would win out as talks continued late into the night on the last day of the United Nations climate summit in South Africa.
Britain and the rest of the EU want the world’s biggest polluters – the U.S., China and India – to agree for the first time to ‘legally binding’ caps as they account for nearly half the world’s emissions.
If they refuse to accept a ‘roadmap’ for a deal, the EU – which accounts for only 15 per cent of emissions – will not commit to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol which expires next year.
As well as a deal which Mr Huhne admitted ‘may go pear-shaped’, world leaders are expected to outline the details of a £64bn package to help the developing world cope with climate change.
The Green Climate Fund is set to cost Britain £1billion a year, or £6billion by 2020, to fund solar panels, flood defences and technology.
It was agreed two years ago, but talks this year have focused on how it will be funded, as countries grapple with low growth and cuts.