Conservative MEPs defeat new climate change targets

Conservative MEPs yesterday defied Prime Minister David Cameron and narrowly swung a vote against tougher European climate change targets.

Tory opposition helped make the difference in a European Parliament vote which watered down a call for an unconditional increase in Europe's emissions reduction target from 20 per cent to 30 per cent. Tories instead backed a successful centre-right amendment for a 30 per cent target "provided that conditions are right" – an alteration to a climate change report that a majority of MEPs then voted down.

The report's author, Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout, said afterwards he had been forced to recommend rejecting his own report because it had been "hijacked" by Conservative and other centre-right MEPs.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies had warned that the Tory MEPs risked ruining the UK's reputation as a leading voice in the fight against global warming. But Tory euro-leader Martin Callanan argued that a unilateral increase would put European companies at a competitive disadvantage globally.

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