Taxonomy: MEPs object to Commission’s plan to include gas and nuclear activities

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


MEPs in the two responsible committees objected on Tuesday to the inclusion of nuclear and gas in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities.

In a joint meeting of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee on Tuesday 14 June, MEPs adopted an objection to the Commission’s proposal to include specific nuclear and gas energy activities in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the so-called EU Taxonomy, with 76 votes to 62 votes and 4 abstentions.

MEPs recognise the role of nuclear and fossil gas in guaranteeing stable energy supply during the transition to a sustainable economy. But, they consider that the technical screening standards proposed by the Commission, in its delegated regulation, to support their inclusion do 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.

Next steps

The resolution is scheduled for a vote during Parliament’s plenary session of 4-7 July 2022. Parliament and Council have until 11 July 2022 to decide whether to veto the Commission’s proposal. If an absolute majority of MEPs (353) objects to the Commission’s proposal, the Commission will have to withdraw or amend it.

Background

The Taxonomy regulation is part of the Commission’s action plan on financing sustainable growth and aims to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’. The complementary Taxonomy Delegated Act was put forward by the Commission on 9 March 2022 and proposes 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.

The new Delegated Act classifies 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.

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