European governments have been accused of undermining EU climate action after talks in Brussels ended in deadlock this week.

A coalition of leading NGOs issued a strongly-worded statement warning that “two-faced EU governments are gutting Europe’s key climate law”.

European leaders lined up to reaffirm their commitments to the Paris agreement and called for more decisive action to deliver its goals at the One Planet summit earlier this week.

Yet just days later, during negotiations on a key EU regulation, the same governments insisted on including loopholes that could lead to hundreds of millions of tones of additional CO2 emissions being pumped into the earth’s atmosphere.

The EU’s ‘Effort Sharing Regulation’ is currently being discussed between EU Member States and the European Parliament. It will set binding targets for emission reductions up to 2030.

The Parliament has called for a 30% cut in emissions in 2030, but even greater cuts will be required to stop global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees, as required by the Paris agreement.

The position taken by national governments would amount to a reduction of less than 25%, a difference that campaigners say is extremely significant.

Controversially, national governments are using the argument that additional steps made up to 2020 should allow for a weakening of efforts after that year.

NGOs say that the exact opposite approach is required; ramping up the efforts and taking additional steps in three years’ time.

The position taken by Member States during the negotiation has led to a deadlock where no agreement could be found, despite discussions late into the night.

A new round of negotiations will now be held and calls are expected to continue for national governments to match their words with cast-iron commitments to emission cuts