France and Great Britain have come together to guarantee significant funds to help developing nations tackle climate change in the hope of sealing an ambitious and legally binding deal at the Copenhagen talks.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say that Britain and France will contribute EUR1.7 billion over three years to a “fast start launch fund” that will fund developing nations’ efforts to limit emissions and overcome the impacts of climate change.

EU leaders are attending a two-day summit in Brussels to decide how much aid the 27-nation bloc will inject into the fund. It is hoped that the ambitious pledge from the UK and France will help to overcome a widening rift between developed and developing nations at the Copenhagen talks.

Speaking at a press conference during the EU summit, Brown stressed the need for an “ambitious, global, comprehensive, legally binding” climate deal within six months. “President Sarkozy and I are clear that the Copenhagen deal must be consistent with a maximum global warming of 2°C.”

The EU should commit to a 30 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 as part of a global deal, added Brown, who also wants the bloc to contribute a total of $10 billion to the three-year fast start fund.

Other EU nations such as Sweden have already pledged funds, but there is concern that poorer Eastern European states cannot be convinced to contribute.

The second day of the EU summit coincides with the fifth day of negotiations at Copenhagen, where talks over the future of the Kyoto Protocol and how to tackle climate change have been turbulent.

Day four of the Copenhagen negotiations saw the suspension of talks in the main session after developing nations and Annex 1 countries could not agree on a way forward. Annex 1 nations want progress to be made on the Long-Term Cooperative Action (LCA) process that was started in Bali, while all developing countries are opposed to this.

The main concern of developing countries is that the Kyoto Protocol will not be preserved and that developed nations. China is strongly opposed to taking part in any discussions which would try to amend and fundamentally change the Kyoto Protocol’s function and made it clear that an agreement in Copenhagen without the Kyoto Protocol as a part of it would not be possible.

The rift between developed and developing countries began to open on day three of the talks with the leaking of a draft agreement – the so-called Danish Text – to the press. Developing nations – in particular the G77 and China – took exception to the document, calling it “an extremely dangerous text for developing nations”.

“It is the usual divide and rule,” commented Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, Chairmand of the G77 and China group. “It is aimed at preserving developed nations’ economic dominance and supremacy.”

Some analysts remain positive over the progress made at Copenhagen so far, commenting that the publication of the Danish text – and a developing nations version known as the Beijing text – has drawn out the fundamental differences that need to be overcome.

“There is an unprecedented level of political will,” says Elliot Diringer of the Pew Centre on Climate Change. “There remain very wide differences on many of the core issues … We don’t expect that all of these issues will be resolved [in Copenhagen] but it is imperative that parties get as far as possible on the fundamental framework and set a deadline for reaching an agreement.”