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Last-minute climate deal hiccups expose EU concerns over political costs

Leaders and companies in Europe’s biggest markets are increasingly balking at the ambitious pace of the continent’s green push as they confront the massive costs associated with economic transformation.

The European Union’s drive to make the continent climate-neutral has coincided with emergency rules to mitigate the effects of an energy crisis and increasing competition from the U.S. and China. This has put great pressure on governments and companies, sparking calls from French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders for a slower pace.

Countries including France and Germany have started to chip away at parts of the EU’s so-called Green Deal that have the potential to negatively impact their voters. EU officials worry that Berlin and Paris have opened the door to those seeking to soften the climate package, potentially hobbling the overall proposal and putting the time line —no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 — in jeopardy.