European Parliament is tempted to remove gas and nuclear from taxonomy

The obstacle course of European taxonomy continues. On Tuesday in Brussels, two main committees of the European Parliament opposed the European Commission’s plan to include gas and nuclear energy as a green energy in the European Union through a delegated act in order to attract investment.

Thus, at a joint meeting, the MEPs from the committees on economy and the environment adopted an objection to the Commission’s draft (76 objections, 62 against, 4 abstentions). Therefore, this draft should be put to the vote at the plenary meeting at the beginning of July. If Parliament then vetoes, the Commission will have to abandon the text or come back with a new proposal.

Not strong enough

This would be a disaster scenario for the proponents of this taxonomy in its current form. At the forefront of this process is France, which is eager to include nuclear power, whose completely carbon-free nature and ability to produce electricity at low cost it praises. Berlin, for its part, is keen to include gas as a necessary tool, at least for now, for the transition to sustainable energy sources.

On Tuesday, MEPs, on the contrary, considered that the technical norms for including them in the taxonomy “do not meet the criteria for environmentally sustainable activities.” In their opinion, gas, even the most efficient one, would be too polluting, and with nuclear power, the question of the long-term consequences of waste would arise. To include them would be to discredit the taxonomy, and the investment that would go into these two energies of yesterday would be much less for the energies of tomorrow, renewables.

The dice are not thrown

The Greens in the European Parliament hailed the setback for “the biggest weed-laundering operation to date” and called the vote a “slap in the face” for France. NGOs also welcomed the “positive” signal. For ClientEarth, this vote “is the nail in the coffin of gas inclusion” in green finance, “blatant climate self-sabotage.”

These votes “do not necessarily predict the outcome in the plenary”, however, several European sources emphasize. MEPs from Central Europe, states that are playing big with the inclusion of nuclear and gas, are underrepresented in the two committees that voted but will be in plenary. Voting methods will also be taken into account: a positive majority is required to object. In other words, absentees and abstentions will play in favor of the text of the commission.

fences

The proponents of the text have already taken up the pilgrimage. In an online op-ed on Monday, MEP Pascal Canfin (Renew), chairman of the Committee on the Environment, vehemently defended the compromise reached by Paris, Berlin and the European Commission. He recalls that there are many guarantees planned, such as the fact that any new gas installation must necessarily replace a coal-fired power plant, or that the taxonomy will clearly distinguish between financial products, including or not including gas and nuclear power, to allow investors to act. consciously.

On the side of the European Council, a dozen states oppose the inclusion of nuclear energy, others refuse to include gas. But neither camp can get the qualified majority needed to reject a very difficult compromise. It is in parliament at the beginning of July that the decisive vote on this case, which divides Europe so strongly, will be played.