Two key European Parliament committees rejected Tuesday the classification of fossil gas and nuclear power as environmentally sustainable under the EU’s so-called Taxonomy. The Taxonomy regulation, part of a Commission plan on financing sustainable growth, aims to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’.
In a complementary ‘delegated act’, the Commission proposed the inclusion, under certain conditions, of specific nuclear and gas energy activities in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the EU taxonomy. This classified certain fossil gas and nuclear energy activities as transitional activities contributing to climate change mitigation under Article 10(2) of the Taxonomy Regulation. The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities would be time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements.
While MEPs recognised the role of nuclear and fossil gas in guaranteeing stable energy supply during the transition to a sustainable economy, they considered that the technical screening standards proposed by the Commission, in its delegated regulation, to support their inclusion did not respect the criteria for environmentally sustainable economic activities as set out in Article 3 of the Taxonomy Regulation.
The resolution adopted by MEPs also requests that any new or amended delegated acts should be subject to a public consultation and impact assessments, as they could have significant economic, environmental and social impacts. Member states continue to be free to decide on their energy mix and investors may continue to invest as they wish, as there is no obligation on investors to invest solely in economic activities that meet specific criteria.
The resolution is scheduled for a vote during Parliament’s plenary session of 4-7 July. Parliament and Council have until 11 July to decide whether to veto the Commission’s proposal. If an absolute majority of MEPs (353) objects to the Commission’s proposal, the EU executive will have to withdraw or amend it.
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