The European parliamentary committees for Economic Affairs and the Environment want investments in fossil gas and nuclear energy not to be labeled as sustainable. This is in contrast to what the European Commission has proposed in the so-called taxonomy.
The objection lodged by the Dutch GroenLinks MEP Bas Eickhout against the proposal was passed by 76 to 62 votes. A vote for the full European Parliament will follow in early July.
The vote takes place in the context of the war with Russia and rising gas prices. Promoting investments in gas has therefore been cast in a different light. The Dutch MEP Paul Tang called the result a good stimulus for European autonomy. “We need to invest in renewable energy to get rid of the Russian gas infusion.”
Eickhout called it 'madness to label gas as a sustainable investment while we are in the middle of a climate crisis and an economic war with Putin. We really need to avoid encouraging investments in expensive nuclear and fossil energy at the expense of renewable energy.”
The decision to include gas and nuclear energy in the eligible list for sustainable investments was taken in a so-called delegated act that can block the European Parliament with an absolute majority (353 out of 705) of votes. If that happens, the European Commission must come up with a new proposal.
Reportedly, Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans agrees substantively with the objections of his opponents against the inclusion of gas and nuclear energy in the taxonomy list, but last year the majority of the European Commission agreed under pressure from Germany and France.
France wanted to keep its own nuclear energy sector subsidisable, and Germany still wanted to protect the (Russian) gas pipeline Nord-Stream-2. Meanwhile, the new German 'traffic light' coalition is against the gas taxonomy.
It is also uncertain whether the majority of the full European Parliament will follow the decision of the ENVI environment committee at the beginning of July. A week ago, the plenary parliament rejected previous amendments by the Environment Committee to early abolish the free emissions permits of the ETS emissions scheme.
With the support of a large part of the Christian Democratic EPP and of conservative and right-wing nationalist groups, important Timmermans Climate Laws were thus blocked.