The European Parliament agrees to label certain investments in nuclear power and gas as green. Those in favor of classifying both activities as “environmentally sustainable” during the energy transition in the EU taxonomywhich establishes the conditions to determine an investment as sustainable, have managed to impose their vision by 328 votes against 278 (in addition to 33 abstentions) who have supported objecting against the delegated act proposed by the European Comission, far from the 353 in which the necessary absolute majority is located. If EU governments endorse the plan, the decision will take effect on January 1, 2023.
The European Commission is “convinced” that both energies are necessary to achieve the energy transition towards climate neutrality in 2050 and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels of Russia and its president Ursula von der Leyen has made it clear this Wednesday, during a speech in the European Parliament, that if this delegated act failed there would be no other proposals from its executive. A threat that he will not carry out given that the attempt to Social Democrats, Greens and the European Left to stop their plans has not gone ahead, by not convincing the necessary majority of MEPs as they did in the previous vote in the environmental and economic affairs commissions.
Although they have won the support of some PPE delegations, the Renew Liberals as well as half of the non-attached members, including Carles Puigdemont, Clara Ponsatí and Toni Comínthe bulk of both political families, in addition to European Conservatives and Reformists (where Vox sits), the extreme right of Identity and Democracy and a score of Social Democrats from Eastern Europe, have opposed overturning the plans of von der Leyen’s team, considering that certain investments in gas power plants and nuclear plants to generate electricity are necessary as long as renewable energies are not further developed.
“Today is a dark day for the climate and energy transition. We are sending a disastrous signal to investors and the rest of the world that the EU now recognizes fossil gas and nuclear power as sustainable investments. By clearing the way for this delegated act, the EU will have unreliable and ecological conditions for green investments in the energy sector”, lamented the vice president of the environment committee, the environmentalist Bas Eickhout, that considers that giving the green label to both energies will allow “to continue fueling the Russian war of aggression and unsustainable energy projects”. For this block, the decision is “catastrophic” because it involves the “laundering” of both energies and places them at the same level as renewables.
“Gas is a fossil fuel and it is not green. I have never described it differently from gas. I have always said that it is fossil fuel but there are countries that are going to need gas in a transition phase. It has detractors and defenders, also nuclear, but it is part of the transition”, explained this Tuesday during the debate the commissioner for the internal market, Mairead McGuinness.
The Irish also recalled that the taxonomy is “a voluntary instrument” to “guide private investors towards investments that will allow us to achieve our climate objectives” and that the Member States will continue to have control. “There is no obligation to invest in nuclear or gas policy. There is no obligation for private investors to do so, but with this delegated act we provide clarity on the criteria according to which investments in gas and nuclear can be made in compliance with the taxonomy” he explained.
The last word will now be with the 27 EU governments although it is taken for granted that the Brussels plan will go ahead given that a supermajority of countries against it is needed to block it (20 of the 27 Member States representing at least 65% of the EU population). “This delicate commitment that has been negotiated in a complex way, with nuclear energy and natural gas from safe countries, are the only means for countries to achieve their climate objectives in the coming years”, the Prime Minister of the Republic has assessed. Czech and rotating president of the EU, petr fiala. In any case, two countries that are totally opposed to nuclear energy, such as Austria and Luxembourg have already announced their intention is to denounce the delegated act before the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).
I deeply regret that today @Europarl_EN failed to object to the delegated act under the #EUTaxonomyallowing #gas & #nuclear to be part of the EU sustainable finance policy. 🇱🇺& 🇦🇹 will press legal charges and the Court will rule about its legality #CJEU @lgewessler pic.twitter.com/J0cNHw4Fsg
— Claude Turmes (@ClaudeTurmes) July 6, 2022
The same step that the environmental organization intends to take greenpeace. “It is a dirty policy and it is a scandalous result to label gas and nuclear power as green and keep more money flowing into Putin’s war chest, but now we will fight this in court,” said his head of sustainable finance. , Ariadne Rodrigo. Before filing the lawsuit, Greenpeace will submit a formal request for internal review to the Commission. If the result is negative, they will go before the CJEU.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.