The European Parliament gave its backing to ‘backloading’ proposals intended to support the price of carbon and maintain trading by delaying the sale of carbon allowance.
The hotly contested vote was widely seen as a test of support for EU efforts to reduce CO2 emissions at a time of economic crisis.
The UK Liberal Democrat European environmental spokesperson Chris Davies commented after the vote:
“What should have been a modest regulatory adjustment has taken on huge importance and had divided governments across Europe.
“I welcome the decision but it is very clear that the appetite for measures to tackle global warming is now very small indeed.
“Europe is at risk of losing its claims to leadership in fighting climate change. The need to develop a low carbon economy is being given little encouragement.
“We need to urgently work on a more long-term structural reform of the ETS and gain back momentum in the fight against climate change.”
Commenting on the fact that Tory MEPs voted against the backloading proposals that were strongly supported by the UK Government, Mr Davies added:
“Conservative MEPs have turned their back on the future and shown their contempt both for the needs of British industry and the policies of the coalition government.
“The simple fact is that business in Britain is paying more for energy than our competitors and this measure will set that right while keeping up the fight against climate change.”
The Parliament’s decision must now be matched by support from EU environment ministers.