European Union leaders are said to be close to a compromise agreement in Brussels on how to achieve ambitious targets to fight global warming.
They are trying to agree a mechanism to cut EU carbon emissions by 20% by 2020.
Environmental groups have reacted angrily, criticising EU proposals on emissions trading which have emerged.
Scientists say carbon dioxide emissions need to be cut by 25-40% by 2020 for there to be a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.
The impact of the financial crisis is undermining the EU’s long-term goal to build a new, low carbon economy.
BBC environmental analyst Roger Harrabin says the repercussions will make it much harder for the EU to achieve the 30% emissions cut it has promised if the rest of the world agrees to the new UN climate deal next year.
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