Activists have vowed to continue struggling for tougher European action on climate change, after MEPs rejected a plan to increase carbon emission cuts.
A group of Conservative MEPs defying the UK government were among those rejecting the proposal to support raising the level of emission cuts from 20 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020.
They also ignored intense lobbying by activists, which included an email and social network campaign and street protests outside the offices of some MEPs.
Paul Brannen, Head of Advocacy and Influence at the UK-based international development agency Christian Aid, said: "We knew the vote in Strasbourg would be close but we are particularly disappointed that British MEPs voted against their own government on the issue."
Brannen continued: "There are overwhelming scientific, political and moral reasons for increasing the curbs on greenhouse gases. The vote is bad news for people living in poverty around the world, who at present bear the brunt of climate change."
However, he added that " the vote is non binding and not the final say on the matter."
Declared Brannen: "The ball is now in the court of the European leaders to make the right decision. European countries must introduce cuts of 30 per cent as an absolute minimum to tackle the climate crisis, and allow the EU to play a leadership role in the international climate negotiations in Durban at the end of the year."
"Campaigners will now redouble their efforts to show ministers the necessity of moving to that figure," he concluded.
Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF and Green Alliance, also wrote jointly to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, urging him to bring the Conservative MEPs into line with the Government’s support for the proposal.
"On an issue as urgent as climate change, MEPs should adhere to policies agreed to by the elected government of Great Britain and not seek to undermine them. David Cameron must now work to ensure such a rebellion doesn’t happen again," explained Christian Aid's Paul Brannen.