The disagreement predates the global financial turmoil that threatens to cause a prolonged economic downturn. But as Hungary's currency crumbles, stocks hover at alarming lows in Poland and real estate prices plummet in Slovenia, the depth of malaise in the east has given greater urgency to New Europe's calls for scaling back planned emission curbs.
Their push worries environmental activists. They question whether eastern Europe's post-communist commitment to the environment is shallow, with leaders happy for the opportunity to rechannel resources into bolstering pensions, boosting employment and lowering inflation.
This distresses me. I get the economic anxieties of the poorer, predominantly eastern European nations. But the climate crisis is something that transcends even the global economy. It is a disaster - and a looming, potentially even-greater disaster - of truly epic proportions, and we must do everything we can to stop it for ourselves and for future generations, even if that means some economic hard times in the present.