The European Parliament rejected the motion not to accept the European Commission’s proposal to include investments in natural gas and nuclear energy in its taxonomy of sustainable finance. Non-governmental organizations immediately announced that they would file a complaint against the European Commission.
The aim of the EU climate taxonomy is to direct private investment towards projects needed to achieve climate neutrality, as well as to eliminate greenwashing. The intention is to introduce strict rules to achieve the goal.
In January 2022, the European Commission proposed that natural gas and nuclear energy be part of the EU taxonomy as transition fuels in the energy transition. The situation changed after the war in Ukraine, so that the opposition to the proposal, also in the European Parliament, increased.
If the resolution was supported by the European Parliament, the Commission had to withdraw or amend the proposal.
A narrow majority for gas and nuclear energy to remain in the climate taxonomy
The vote in the European Parliament was very tight since of the 639 MEPs present, 328 were against the motion, while 278 voted in favor and around thirty abstained. Opponents of the new rules failed to secure the 353 votes needed for a majority in parliament with 705 seats.
After this vote, the only obstacle to the inclusion of gas and nuclear energy in the green taxonomy is the opposition of 20 of the 27 EU member states, which is unlikely, Reuters reported.
The climate taxonomy debate has divided EU countries. France, which depends on nuclear power stations, and Poland, a heavy consumer of coal, have backed gas and nuclear, while Austria and Luxembourg have announced a lawsuit against the EU if the proposal is accepted.
NGOs intend to sue the European Commission
Environmental NGOs and lawyers, including the European Climate Foundation, WWF, ClientEarth, Greenpeace, have announced their intention to sue the European Commission for adopting a taxonomy that does not comply with the climate objectives agreed in the framework of the Paris Agreement.
Tubiana (European Climate Foundation): this failure will not prevent fossil investments from becoming blocked assets
Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, said that with gas in the taxonomy, the EU missed its chance to set a benchmark for sustainable finance. Instead, it set a dangerous precedent, as politics and vested interests won out over science.
The EU taxonomy now falls short of its own original purpose, which was to prevent greenwashing in the financial system, she said.
Tubiana is certain that this failure will not prevent fossil investments from becoming stranded assets. The path to the energy of the future is already mapped out, with the Paris Agreement as a compass, and there is no room for fossil fuels, she added.
Asin (WWF): the decision makes it possible to divert billions of investments necessary to ensure the climate transition
According to Marta Toporek, a lawyer at ClientEarth, calling fossil gas transitional and green in the taxonomy is illegal because it conflicts with key EU climate legislation, including the EU Climate Law and the Taxonomy Regulation. -same.
Ester Asin, director of the WWF European Policy Office, said gas and nuclear are not green, and labeling them as such is blatant greenwashing – it harms the climate and future generations.
Today, the fossil gas and nuclear lobbies are hitting the jackpot, making it possible to divert billions of investments essential to ensure the climate transition, she added.