A report calling on the European commission to move “as soon as possible and before the end of 2011” to increase CO2 emissions reduction targets from 20% to 30% by 2020 was today voted down by the European Parliament after it was hijacked by amendments from centre-right MEPs.

Despite claims from David Cameron that the coalition government would be the “greenest ever” and a statement from Conservative MEPs that “[b]oth Conservative MEPs and the coalition government support moving towards a 30 percent reduction in CO2”, almost all Conservative MEPs voted in favour of the wrecking amendments, forcing Green and other left MEPs to vote down their own motion.

After the vote, Green MEP Bas Eickhout, who had been the draftsman of the draft report, said:

It is with great regret that I was forced to recommend MEPs to reject my own report after it was hijacked by amendments from conservative and centre-right MEPs. The amendments, which passed by the tightest of majorities, would have meant the final report was a step back from previous positions adopted by the European Parliament and, as a result, the least-worst outcome was to prevent the report being adopted.

It is extremely frustrating that conservative and centre-right MEPs continue to keep their heads in the sand with regard to climate policy. It is clear that the EU’s current 20% emissions target for 2020 is completely obsolete and that the EU needs to deliver on its pledges and step up to a 30% reduction target. It is holding Europe back, undermining the EU’s emissions trading scheme, and acting as a barrier to proactive emissions reductions efforts and investments in green technologies, and hence job creation. The European Commission itself made this case last year. Clearly, there are plenty of climate dinosaurs in the EP, who refuse to acknowledge that tougher emissions targets are necessary and who, as a result, are holding back green growth in the EU.

Examining the roll call for the votes we see that only two Conservative MEPs consistently voted against the amendments, Timothy Kirkhope and Roger Helmer. That second name might look somewhat surprising, given Helmer’s proud record of “scepticism”. We can only presume he voted against the amendments for not going far enough, as, indeed, it appears the fascists, Griffin, Brons, Le Pen etc., appear to have concluded, all voting against the amendments. In fact, though the full transcript of the session is not yet available, the far right’s votes against not only the amendments but also the individual sections of the report which were voted on supports this analysis.

Which leaves us with the conclusion that just one of twenty six Tory MEPs had the intelligence to vote for proposals aimed at pressuring the Commission to reduce our environmental impact, and create more jobs.

Fortunately this won’t be the last word on the matter, though the report was voted down, the vote is non-binding and the Commission could still move forward with more ambitious plans, let’s hope they see more sense than the Tories.