Green Party MEPs have said an attempt to "severely weaken" the EU's targets to reduce carbon emissions is "shameful".

The European Parliament today voted down proposals on the Emissions Trading System (ETS) which sets out the amount of greenhouse gas emissions permitted by industries covered by the system.

A reduction in these industry-specific emissions is seen as a cornerstone of the EU's policy to reach the target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030.

MEPs passed a series of amendments pushed by the European People's Party, which includes five Fine Gael MEPs, that would have resulted in weaker emissions cuts than those proposed by the parliament's environment committee last month.

The committee had proposed to slash emissions in the sectors covered by the system by 67% - greater than the EU Commission's proposal of 61% but this was rejected by the EPP.

Those amendments then led to a tactical vote by other groups to reject the entire package of ETS reforms, rather than accept what they said was a "watered down version."

Green Party MEP, Ciaran Cuffe, said a "threat" to jeopardise the Paris Agreement goals "was introduced by the EPP and the far right, under pressure from industry lobbyists who sought to extend the system of free allowances to industry for pollution until 204."

Following a complex set of votes on a number of amendments, the issue will now be referred back to the committee for negotiation, ahead of a likely vote on the matter later this month.

However, Mr Cuffe said this is merely kicking the can down the road, and he was left "deeply frustrated" by the actions of the EPP MEPs: "It is shameful for a party that represents so many millions to turn their backs on the Paris Agreement, which is critical to safeguarding the future health of our planet," he said.

In a statement to RTÉ News, Fine Gael MEPs said they fully support the targets enshrined in climate law, but the transition must be managed pragmatically and carefully.

They said the Commission's position on reducing emissions under the ETS was drafted prior to the war in Ukraine and prior to a potential recession.

The EPP's position is that "given the unprecedented situation facing industry, we need to provide security to industry and breathing space so they can reach their targets".

Fine Gael and EPP MEP for Ireland South, Sean Kelly, said: "We fully support the targets enshrined in the climate law, but we must ensure that we manage the transition pragmatically and carefully."

He told RTÉ News: "If we overburden ourselves, the loss of competitiveness for European industry could impact directly on our ability to finance the technologies we need to decarbonise the economy.

"It could also have social implications with the loss of employment, further straining public finances and dampening our potential to invest in the necessary infrastructure, physical and digital, which will have a net negative impact on the climate."

The five Fine Gael MEPs, however, defied the EPP position by voting in favour of a proposal to ensure all cars and vans are fully electric by 2035.

This was welcomed my Mr Cuffe and fellow Green Party MEP Grace O'Sullivan, who said the proposal, adopted by the Parliament today, "will promote the accelerated production of electric cars and vans in the coming years."

The Parliament also backed a 2025 phase-out date for free pollution permits for airlines. This will apply to flights within the EU and flights leaving the EU.