EU leaders tackle climate change, Ebola

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BRUSSELS: European Union (EU) leaders meet at a summit in Brussels on Thursday (Friday in Manila) aimed at clinching a high-stakes deal on combating climate change and boosting efforts to fight the deadly Ebola virus.

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The heads of state and government from the 28-member EU will also search during the two-day meeting for ways to foster economic growth and jobs amid fears of a triple-dip recession.

The main focus on Thursday will be on an ambitious package of climate change targets for 2030, but the leaders face 11th-hour differences over how member states share the burden.

Draft conclusions for the summit seen by Agence France-Presse call for cutting greenhouse gases by 40 percent over 1990 levels, making renewables account for 27 percent of energy use and setting an energy savings target of 30 percent.

But there are objections all round the table, especially from coal-reliant Poland, which says the cost of updating its power plants is too high, and from Portugal, which wants closer cross-border energy infrastructure.

“There are still difficult issues which need to be resolved. We will see if we manage to do that,” a German government source told reporters on condition of anonymity.

But other European sources were more upbeat.

“There is no agreement yet but I think the differences of opinion have been narrowed down to a couple of outstanding issues which will be settled by the leaders on Thursday night,” said one source.

AFP

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