LUXEMBOURG - European environment ministers agreed a proposal on Wednesday to curb global emissions from planes and ships by 10 percent and 20 percent respectively over the next decade, two EU diplomats said.
The proposal will be presented to other countries at talks in Copenhagen in December aimed at forging a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations' main tool against climate change.
Shipping and aviation are not covered by Kyoto, which runs out in 2012, but the 27-country European Union wants the two sectors dealt with in any deal hammered out in Copenhagen.
Wednesday's agreement was a step forward after EU finance ministers failed a day earlier to agree on financial aid for developing nations that would be intended to win their support for a global climate deal.
Developing countries say they cannot cut carbon dioxide emissions and adapt to changing temperatures without help from industrial nations, which grew rich by fuelling their industries with hydrocarbons and polluting the atmosphere.
But a rift between countries in the east and west of the EU that emerged on Tuesday grew deeper on Wednesday. The environment ministers clashed over what to do with surplus gas emissions rights -- so-called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs).
Eastern European countries have significant numbers of spare AAUs that they sell to generate cash, and want to keep doing so after 2013. But other countries such as Germany want to kill off the excess permits, saying they undermine the system.
On Tuesday, nine of Europe's poorer countries, led by Poland, had demanded their economic situation be taken into account before the EU agrees up to 15 billion euros ($22.4 billion) of financial aid for the developing world.
(Reporting by Pete Harrison, editing by Dale Hudson)