Last week, the European Parliament rejected the European Commission’s proposal to label nuclear power and gas as “sustainable investments”.
By the end of 2021, the European Commission decided to include gas and nuclear power in the EU taxonomy. It was justified for the “energy security” it provides to the 27-nation bloc, but it came with many strings attached:
Bas Eickhout, Greens/EFA parliamentarian, has recently warned about the wrong signals given by the European Commission.
For Eickhout, the EU has the opportunity to lead the fight against climate change, setting the goal towards climate neutrality:
“While many of the MEPs understand that nuclear power and gas are not sustainable, it is still a tight race. […] The Green Deal must not be used to finance energies that harm the environment and climate and pose unmanageable risks.”
All the pressure on the politicians for the final vote
The parliamentarians are going to vote on the final delegated act on the 4th to 7th of July. The Greens/EFA are actively calling on all MEPs to permanently reject it.
They are looking for a last push to stop the greenwashing of gas and nuclear energy with an open petition, #NotMyTaxonomy. The group plans to collect 200,000 signatures against the EC greenwashing proposal.
The ABC of EU TAXONOMY
- WHY: In order to achieve the European Green Deal, the bloc needs to direct investments towards green, secure, and affordable energies. That’s why they created the so-called EU taxonomy as a standard for sustainable investments.
- WHAT: The taxonomy recognizes as green activities “those that – beside doing no significant harm and meeting minimum social safeguards – make a substantial, rather than a marginal, contribution to reaching the EU’s environmental objectives”.
- HOW: It translates the EU’s climate and environmental objectives into specific criteria. It provides companies, investors and policymakers the definitions of what is considered environmentally sustainable.
- WHEN: The Commissioners started the taxonomy concept in 2020. It is not a binding regulation, but according to the EU it is indeed a “recommended, transparent and reliable tool”. In the upcoming years all large companies will have to disclose to what extent they meet the taxonomy requirements. It is also likely to be used for decisions on European and national public subsidies.
European climate neutrality put into question
Following the definition of green activities described in the EU taxonomy, can we say gas and nuclear energy contribute to reach environmental objectives? What effects will this recognition have? The Greens/EFA have already described the European Commission delegated act as a “terrible mistake”.
The group believes this identification of gas and nuclear power as sustainable will call European climate neutrality into question, with strong consequences both for private and public investment.
They maintain it delays the energy transition and increases the EU dependency on the import of the troubling fossil fuels. In 2019, 41% of the EU natural gas imports came from Russia. In 2020 EU countries imported 60% of their uranium from Niger, Russia and Kazakhstan.
In line with the Greens reasoning, if the 27-nation group wants to head the battle against climate change it must invest in the expansion of renewable energies, instead of rewarding the energies of the past.