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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

European Parliament fails to pass ambitious greenhouse gas vote

The UK’s Green MEPs have today criticised Conservative and centre-right Members of the European Parliament for failing to pass tougher measures on greenhouse gases which would have committed the EU to a more ambitious emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020

Members of the European Parliament, including Britain’s Conservatives, voted against proposals in Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout’s report, which called upon the Commission to take stronger action to ensure that emission reductions reached significantly further than the current 20 per cent target in order to help  deliver a green and forward-looking Europe.

The Green/EFA Group has long argued that a more ambitious, clear target would create millions of additional jobs, improve health and lower energy import bills [1].

Speaking after the vote, Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London and a member of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: “A slender majority within the European Parliament has balked at the opportunity to scrap its obsolete target of a twenty per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020.  This failure to increase the target to 30 per cent will risk exceeding the maximum temperature rise of two degrees, resulting in dangerous climate changes including more floods, drought and rising seas. 

“Not only is today’s outcome a blow for the environment but it will also have a knock on effect on Europe’s economy.  There is a huge potential for job creation in industries such as wind and solar power which is not yet being exploited. Increasing the reduction target to at least 30 per cent would have helped create the millions of green jobs necessary to deliver a true and sustainable green industrial revolution across Europe.  I can only hope that further deliberations will secure genuine improvement to EU climate change policy.”

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England said: “Today’s vote shows a real lack of political will by the right wing parties to act now to halt climate change. The UK coalition government says it supported higher EU greenhouse gas emissions targets but when it came to the crunch the Conservatives were not willing to commit. This is a real failure to grasp an opportunity to bring environmental and economic benefits to countries across Europe . The Greens will continue to push for tougher targets which would actually start to address climate change and its devastating effects.”

Note to editors:

1. Research by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research showed that the move to a 30 per cent target could increase annual output by 0.6% and create six million much-needed new jobs in Europe by 2020.