European environment chiefs agreed new laws Thursday to crack down on acid pollution from heavy industries such as steel, power plants and refining, EU diplomats said.

Existing power plants will have to comply with the new emissions standards by 2016, but countries can opt to phase the controls in between 2016 and the end of 2020, the diplomats said.

Car makers are lobbying the European Union to delay an agreed 2011 ban on climate-damaging chemicals in car air conditioners, a letter from auto industry group ACEA shows.

The move has aroused strong opposition from environmentalists and suppliers of greener engineering systems.

European environment ministers could agree to tighten up widely flouted acid pollution laws this week after rapid progress in recent negotiations over industrial emissions brought a compromise within reach.

The European Union agreed the basis of its financial contribution to a global climate change deal on Thursday, but environmentalists said more was needed to ensure success at global talks in Copenhagen in December.

But ACI Europe's scheme did not set a deadline for airports to become carbon neutral -- largely by cutting emissions from ground transport, boosting renewable energy and reducing the energy consumption of buildings.

The European Union will boost economies and create an additional 410,000 jobs if the bloc meets its target of getting one fifth of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, a new report shows.

The 27-country bloc will boost gross domestic product (GDP) by a quarter of 1 percent in the process, the study prepared for the European Commission's energy department said.

Warm weather in 2007 helped the European Union towards its target of cutting global warming gases under the UN Kyoto Protocol for fighting climate change, but Spain, Italy and Ireland remained way off track.

Soaring transport emissions also offset many of the advances made by the 27-nation bloc, EU data showed on Friday, confirming a Reuters story last month.

Europe should halt the construction of any more wind farms until it has further examined their impact on wildlife, landscapes and the value of nearby houses, a new anti-wind farm group said on Tuesday.

Nearly a third of the world's cement industry has united on a strategy to cut global warming gases in a way that will not slow a construction boom in poor countries, backers of the initiative said on Wednesday.

One fifth of Europe's reptiles and nearly a quarter of its amphibians are in danger because of the threat humans pose to their natural habitat, according to a study carried out for the European Commission.