The European Union has promised to contribute 2.4 billion euro towards global efforts to quickly get climate change adaptation under way in developing countries.
This was one of the results from the meeting of the European Council, the EU's heads of state and government, on December 11 2009.
The so-called "Fast start funding" is money to be used to, in the words of the EU, "quickly get climate change adaptation measures under way in developing countries".
The money is for adaptation, mitigating the effects of climate change and capacity building, according to an EU presidency statement.
The EU wants to work for an annual global contribution of seven billion euro a year between 2010 and 2012. Of this, the EU leaders have agreed to contribute 2.4 billion euro annually.
Earlier, the European Council struggled among themselves to agree about contributions for a proposed six billion euro package to assist developing countries take steps against climate change.
Before the two-day European Council meeting began on December 10 2009, hopes were that the group would come up with funding of two billion euro a year from 2010 to 2012 to assist initial, rapid steps by developing countries.
Longer-term, the EU wants to provide 100 billion euro to developing countries to help with problems associated with climate change, including deforestation and desertification.
The BBC said that if the EU could succeed in funding a six billion euro pledge, this would boost chances of a deal at United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen.
The United Kingdom promised 833 million euro, Sweden 765 million euro, The Netherlands 300 million euro and Denmark 160 million euro for the 2010-2012 plan.
However, Eastern European countries were reluctant to contribute to the planned six billion euro.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told the European Council meeting that Bulgaria would contribute to the fund only after all EU funding for his country was unblocked, EurActiv said.
Borissov said that he wanted Bulgaria to be treated as an equal member of the EU, saying that since he took office as head of government in July 2009, major steps had been taken against corruption.
"Our contribution is under a direct conditionality with the unfreezing of all EU funding [some EU funds for Bulgaria have been suspended due to poor management and suspicions of corruption], as well as the admission of Bulgaria to the euro zone. Only then we will indicate our contribution," Borissov said.
Earlier, the European Commission called on the bloc to collectively earmark the yearly financial assistance for developing countries to cope with climate change, the Voice of America said
on December 10.
Jason Anderson, head of EU climate and energy policy at the environment group WWF, says it is important the pledges amount to new money - rather than simply reshuffling existing aid.
Anderson said that Europe must agree on long-term aid to poor nations.
"In terms of the long term, I think they need to acknowledge the scale and be willing to put in a more specific offer for Europe's fair share of that scale, recognising there is negotiation here, so it doesn't have to be a final fixed figure on the table, but it has to be consistent with the overall scale," Anderson said.
So far, EU leaders have agreed only that a general, global figure of $150 billion in aid is needed, but they have not specified their own share of that sum.
Environmental groups are also backing the UK's call for the EU to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020, instead of their agreed 20 per cent.
"There have been a number of studies showing that Europe moving to 30 per cent would actually be an economic gain for Europe. And that includes if other countries don't take a gain at the same level, although they have to join later," Anderson said.
"The reason for that is that every time you cut, you're putting into place policies that use less energy, energy costs money and, in fact, you're saving money."
But business leaders, along with EU members like Poland and Italy, strongly oppose deeper cuts, arguing they will hurt European economies that are slowly emerging from the financial cr
As EU leaders arrived for the European Council summit in Brussels, there was a brief drama when Greenpeace activists disguised as official delegates infiltrated through the security cordon.
They held up banners reading "EU: Save Copenhagen" before security guards removed the group.