Today, MEPs called out the UK government for falling behind other EU states in tackling climate change.
The criticism was levelled following a statement by the European Commission in the European Parliament in the wake of the ‘State of the Energy Union’ report released last week by the Commission, which attacked the UK government for its record on renewable energy.
The report states the UK has failed to hit an interim target back in 2013, and argues the UK was in danger of not meeting legally binding 2020 targets.
Earlier this month, Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, conceded that the UK will not meet these commitments.
With world leaders heading to Paris next week for the next round of UN Climate Change talks, this will embarrass the UK government, which has come under increasing pressure at home after research showed it gives the fossil-fuel industry almost £6bn a year in subsidies, almost twice the level of financial support for energy providers.
The costs of an over-reliance on fossil fuels are unsustainable, yet the government has failed to grasp this reality and has totally failed to back the UK’s renewable energy market, scrapping subsidies for onshore wind, solar and incentives to replace coal with biomass.
This has put us behind international competitors on the most secure, clean and economically viable sources of energy, sacrificing thousands of jobs and putting a big question mark over the future of the UK’s energy security. China, the US and Germany have been quick to capitalise.
Speaking today, Seb Dance MEP, Labour's European Environmental Spokesperson, said:
"This willingness to concede ground to narrow-minded climate change-sceptics and environmental cynics on the Tory backbenchers is pushing the UK to the fringes of the environmental debate, reducing our ability to get a significant deal in Paris.
The earth’s temperature is heading towards its highest for three million years. If global warming is not kept below 2 degrees Celsius then the most extreme and catastrophic impacts of climate change will be unleashed.
The government is failing to implement policies that will reduce levels of carbon pollution. Unfortunately this comes at a time when we should be leading the way to achieve the strongest possible deal in Paris."