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Tories Threaten Progress On Climate Change

June 22, 2011 12:00 PM

Conservative MEPs have been warned that if they fail to vote for a 30% EU emissions reduction target by 2020 in a crucial vote in Brussels tomorrow they will undermine 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 within 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 now say they will refuse to endorse the Government's position and will vote against the recommendation.

Andrew Duff, the Liberal Democrat MEP for the East of England claimed that the result was on a knife-edge.:

He said: "This vote will be a crucial test of Conservative MEPs' commitment to combat global warming, and the signs are that it is one they will fail.

"Raising the target to 30% is crucial if low carbon investment is to be stimulated, and the policy of the Coalition Government could not be more clear.

"It's well known that there are climate change deniers in the Conservative ranks in Brussels and it seems now that they have gained the upper hand.

"Tory MEPs need to think long and hard about whether they will vote against government policy and undermine David Cameron. The world needs our leadership and support if attempts to secure an international agreement to combat climate change are to have any chance of success."

The low carbon industry is said already to provide one million jobs in the UK."