August 19, 2022

The European Parliament supports the classification of gas and nuclear investments as environmentally friendly

The European Parliament supports the classification of gas and nuclear investments as environmentally friendly

  • Lawmakers back EU’s ‘green’ investment label for fuel
  • It will likely become law unless the vast majority of countries use their veto
  • Gas and nuclear rules divided EU states and lawmakers
  • Luxembourg, Austria to challenge the law before the court

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament on Wednesday backed EU rules describing investments in gas and nuclear power plants as climate-friendly, ignoring an attempt to block a law that exposed deep differences between countries on how to combat climate change. .

The vote clears the way for the EU proposal to pass into law, unless 20 of the bloc’s 27 member states decide to oppose the move, which is seen as highly unlikely.

The new rules will add gas and nuclear power plants to the European “rating” rulebook from 2023, allowing investors to classify and market investments in them as green.

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Of the 639 lawmakers who attended, 328 opposed a motion aimed at blocking the EU’s gas and nuclear proposals.

The European Commission welcomed the outcome. The rules were proposed in February after more than a year of delays and intense pressure from governments and industries.

“The supplementary delegated law is a workable proposal to ensure that private investments in gas and nuclear, which are needed for our energy transition, meet strict criteria,” said Mered McGuinness, head of EU Financial Services.

The rules have divided EU countries, legislators and investors. Brussels has rewritten the rules several times, skimming over whether to give gas stations a green label. Her final proposal sparked a fierce debate about how to achieve climate goals amid a crisis over dwindling Russian gas supplies.

Gas is a fossil fuel with emissions that warm the planet – but much less than coal, and some EU countries see it as a temporary alternative to replace dirtier fuels.

Nuclear power is free of carbon dioxide emissions but produces radioactive waste. Proponents such as France say nuclear power is vital to achieving emissions reduction targets, while opponents point to concerns about waste disposal. Read more

Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said the vote was good for energy security and emissions reduction targets.

“We will remain on our way to climate neutrality by 2050,” he said.

Luxembourg and Austria, which oppose nuclear power and have warned against designating the gas green, said they would challenge the law in court.

“It is neither credible, nor ambitious, nor knowledge-based, endangers our future and is more than irresponsible,” Austrian Climate Minister Leonor Gosler said.

Climate activists criticized the move, with Greenpeace saying it would also pose a legal challenge.

“This is a bad signal to the rest of the world that may undermine the EU’s leadership position on climate action,” said Anders Schelde, chief investment officer at Danish pension fund AkademikerPension.

Industry groups welcomed the vote. Ingbert Liebing, general manager of the German local utilities association VKU, called it “an important sign of natural gas’s role as a bridge to achieving climate goals.”

The EU classification aims to illustrate the murky world of sustainable investing, by ensuring that any financial products that make environmentally friendly claims meet certain criteria. Gas stations, for example, must convert to low-carbon gases by 2035 and meet the emissions limit. Read more

How the law will affect investment trends is not yet clear. The classification does not prohibit investments in activities without the green mark.

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(Reporting by Kate Abnett). Additional reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by John Chalmers, Alexandra Hudson

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