EU: Natural gas, nuclear power can be “sustainable”

By Jack Burke06 July 2022

Part of a broader new E.U. law that classifies various types of energy investments as environmentally friendly

Members of the European Parliament voted down a proposal that would have kept nuclear power and natural gas from being declared environmentally sustainable economic activities.

The vote means that some gas and nuclear energy projects should be considered “green” and receive access to cheap loans and even state subsidies.

The European Parliament did not object to the Commission’s Taxonomy Delegated Act to include specific nuclear and gas energy activities, under certain conditions, in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the so-called EU Taxonomy.

“As the Commission believes there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the green transition, it has proposed the classification of certain fossil gas and nuclear energy activities as transitional activities contributing to climate change mitigation,” according to the EU. “The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements.”

For the vote, 278 MEPs voted in favor of the resolution, 328 against and 33 abstained. An absolute majority of 353 MEPs was needed for parliament to veto the Commission’s proposal. If neither parliament, nor Council object to the proposal by July 11, the Taxonomy Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of Jan. 1, 2023.

The Taxonomy regulation is part of the Commission’s action plan on financing sustainable growth and aims to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’.

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