This week we faced a huge disappointment in the European Parliament when MEPs rejected plans to commit to more ambitious reductions in CO2. Labour MEPs were fully behind plans to change our target from reducing emissions by 30% instead of 20% by 2020, as were, supposedly, the British government. To our dismay these plans were rejected by just nine votes.
Leading scientists agree that in order to stop a global environmental crisis we need to reduce our emissions by somewhere between 25-40% from 1990 levels. In order to do this Europe needs to be a world leader in driving down emissions, and the Tory-led coalition has pledged to be the greenest government ever. Strange then that it was the vote of 16 Conservative MEPs that stopped our plans to increase the target to 30%. Had they voted with us, and with their government, we would have won the vote.
David Cameron claims to be green, but this vote has shown the hollowness of his party’s commitments on environmental policy. As global warming is a problem without borders, most of our environmental policies are made at a European level. The Tories have taken the pressure to act off the European Commission and EU countries, leaving the government’s claim to be winning the argument on EU emissions in tatters. It looks like Cameron’s commitment to lead the “greenest government ever” can be added to a long list of broken promises.