TORIES SCUPPER PROGRESS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

July 5, 2011 9:11 PM

Conservative MEPs have rejected calls for a 30% EU emissions reduction target by 2020 in a crucial vote in Brussels today, undermining the Prime Minister and the UK's reputation as a leading voice in the fight against global warming.

Supporters of the move to raise ambitions from the current 20% reduction target argue that it will guide investment decisions crucial to the development of low carbon energy production and the growth of the green economy.

The position is a key element of the Coalition Agreement, and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has given strong support to the European Commission in its attempt to persuade EU ministers to adopt it.

But Conservative MEPs have now refused to endorse the Government's position and voted against the recommendation. The report has now been rejected.

Sir Graham Watson, the SW Liberal Democrat MEP and Chairman of the Climate Parliament, claimed that the result showed just how divided the Conservatives are on European issues.:

He said: "This vote was a crucial test of Conservative MEPs' commitment to combat global warming, and they have failed.''

"Raising the target to 30% is essential if low carbon investment is to be stimulated, and the policy of the Coalition Government could not be clearer.''