Climate Change

15 Jun 2022

EU Lawmaker Panels Object to ‘Green’ Label for Gas, Nuclear Investments

15 Jun 2022  by   

View of the cooling tower at the Golfech nuclear plant on the edge of the Garonne river between Agen and Toulouse, France, July 18, 2018. Picture taken July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Two European Parliament committees on Tuesday backed an attempt to stop the EU labelling gas and nuclear energy as climate-friendly investments, setting the stage for a full parliament vote on whether to reject the rules next month.

Parliament's environment and economic committees supported a resolution which attempts to block a plan by the European Commission to include gas and nuclear in the European Union's taxonomy - a labelling system for "sustainable" investments designed to steer private capital towards those that support climate change targets.

EU countries and lawmakers are split over whether the fuels are green enough to earn that label - reflecting broader disagreements over how Europe should meet climate goals - and could yet reject the EU proposal.

The full European Parliament will vote on the resolution in early July. Support from at least half of its 705 lawmakers would block the gas and nuclear rules.

The resolution says gas and nuclear cannot be considered sustainable based on existing EU laws, and labelling them as green would confuse investors. It passed with 76 votes in favour and 62 against on Tuesday.

"We are already short of cash and need every euro for solar and wind power," said German Green lawmaker Michael Bloss, who supported the resolution.

Environment committee chair Pascal Canfin was among those to oppose it, pointing to the proposed rules, which deem gas and nuclear climate-friendly with the caveat that they are "transitional activities" that cannot yet be made fully green.

"This delegated act is therefore ultimately in line with the reality of the options available to move towards carbon neutrality," said Canfin, a French lawmaker.

The conflict between Ukraine and top gas supplier Russia has heightened divisions about reliance on gas. Eastern European countries have said gas investments are needed to replace more-polluting coal, while others say labelling CO2-emitting gas as sustainable undermines efforts to curb climate change.

Meanwhile, pro-nuclear states including France view the CO2-free energy source as crucial to meet climate targets, while opponents like Germany cite concerns over waste disposal.


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