The huge grants to poorer new members from the European Union will dramatically increase their carbon emissions, counter to the bloc’s aim to lead the world in fighting climate change, it was claimed on Wednesday.

Friends of the Earth, the green pressure group, launched a report showing that the ten mostly ex-communist states propose to dedicate just 1 per cent of the €177bn largesse to renewable energy and energy-saving projects.

It urged the European Commission to reject the plans, covering 2007-13, unless they were amended.

Last month EU leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and triple renewable power generation and channel funds towards those ends.

”How can we take the climate and energy commitments agreed by EU leaders in March seriously if the EU undermines them with its second biggest budget line?” Martin Konecny, of FoE Europe, said.

“The spending plans are laden down with huge amounts of carbon dioxide and feature remarkably little in the way of clean and efficient energy and transport. The Commission must now take firm steps to prevent seven years and billions of euros being lost to energy-intensive development.”

Within the transport sector, 53 percent of the funds have been allocated for roads and motorways, says the report. Only 30 percent is to be spent on railways and 10 percent for public urban transport.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, of campaign group CEE Bankwatch, said: ”Already the Czech Republic and Lithuania have more cars per person than rich Denmark.”

The Commission was not able to comment on Wednesday on whether it would call for changes.

Poland, which is to receive almost one fifth of the total EU structural funds, plans a 31 per cent increase in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2013 compared with 2003, according to the report. The Commission has agreed to a 27 per cent rise from 2008-12.

FoE research also shows that the four countries that have so far received by far the most EU funds per capita - Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Ireland - have also witnessed by far the greatest increases in emissions.

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