Taxonomy: Parliamentary committees reject greenwashing
MEPs on the EU Parliament’s Environment and Economic Affairs Committee have come out strongly against natural gas and nuclear power being classified as sustainable in the EU taxonomy. 76 committee members voted in favour of the motion rejecting the delegated act published by the EU Commission against the advice of its own expert group on sustainable finance earlier this year. 62 committee members voted against.
MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis, Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs: “The ENVI & ECON Committees voted against greenwashing and rejected the Commission’s irrational attempt to label nuclear & gas as environmentally sustainable. It is an important win but just a first step. We now need to defend our planet in July’s Plenary. This is not the Taxonomy we want, this is not the Taxonomy we were promised.”
MEP Silvia Modig, Member of the Committee on Environment: “The EU taxonomy must be a science-based system that prevents corporate greenwashing, not the other way round. I am very pleased with the result. The classification of natural gas as a climate-sustainable investment is absurd. Natural gas is a fossil fuel with huge climate emissions.”
The EU taxonomy is a set of criteria for what can be called climate-sustainable investments in the EU. The aim is to channel more private money into green investments to help the EU meet its climate targets. The classification was agreed between the EU Parliament, Member States and the Commission at the end of 2019. Nuclear and natural gas were excluded from the negotiations, pending a separate delegated act from the Commission on the issue. On New Year’s Eve 2021, the Commission proposed to include natural gas and nuclear power in the green taxonomy, subject to certain conditions.
Banks and investors have been vocal about how the Delegated Act is counterproductive and does not provide clarity. NGOs have pointed to how it is scientifically unsound. There has been no public consultation, proper impact assessment and the EP has been sidelined.
“When the taxonomy was originally negotiated between the Commission, Member States and the EU Parliament, the main principle was that the system should be based on scientific evidence. In other words, it is a science-based system, not a political issue. The Commission’s proposal to add natural gas to the list completely undermines this principle. Natural gas is scientifically proven to harm the climate”, Silvia Modig says.
The final vote is planned for the plenary session of the EU Parliament in the first week of July. Then, the absolute majority of MEPs can finally reject the delegated act of EU taxonomy with natural gas and nuclear power. The delegated act with nuclear and natural gas will only enter into force if EU Parliament or EU Council do not object with the corresponding majority.