Members of the European Parliament take questions at the COP-16 climate talks in Cancun in December 2010.
On Tuesday, conservative British representatives led the European Parliament to reject a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 in a preliminary vote stirred by claims that such a sharp decrease taken out of step with other nations would drive businesses out of EU countries.
The vote was not decisive. Representatives favoring aggressive carbon reductions based on climate science are expected to push for tougher targets in the future, but first will have to find a way to subvert or appease the powerful business interests rallied around Martin Callanan—the British Tory parliamentarian who led the vote—and his peers. —ARK
A rebellion by the UK’s Tory MEPs helped to swing the vote against a tougher target on how much carbon emissions should be cut by 2020, but was not decisive, according to insiders.
The vote does not put an end to green campaigners’ hopes of a more ambitious emissions reduction target—a higher cut of 30% by 2020 on 1990 levels rather than 20%—as the issue will continue to be debated, but is a setback.
The political wrangling involved a series of amendments, proposed by Conservative groupings of MEPs, that would have weakened the resulting resolution to an extent that was not acceptable to the Green MEP grouping.