The European Parliament is tempted to remove gas and nuclear energy from the taxonomy

The barrier of European taxonomy continues. In Brussels on Tuesday, two main committees of the European Parliament opposed the European Commission’s plan to include, by delegation, gas and nuclear energy among energy sources classified as “green” in the European Union, in order to attract investment.

Thus, during the joint sitting, MEPs from the Committees on Economic and Environmental Affairs accepted the objections against the draft Commission (76 for objections, 62 against, 4 abstained). Therefore, this draft will have to be voted on in plenary in early July. If parliament vetoes, the Commission will have to abandon the text or return with a new proposal.

Not strong enough

This would be a real catastrophe scenario for the promoters of this taxonomy in its current form. At the forefront of which is France, which is keen to include nuclear energy, whose completely carbon-free nature and ability to generate electricity at a low price it praises. Berlin, for its part, seeks to include gas as a necessary tool, at least for a while, for the transition to sustainable energy.

On Tuesday, MEPs, on the other hand, said the technical standards for including them in the taxonomy “do not meet the criteria for environmentally sustainable activities”. According to them, gas, even the most efficient, would be too polluting, and with nuclear energy there would be a question about the long-term consequences of waste. Incorporating them would discredit the taxonomy, and the investment in these two energy sources of yesterday would be much smaller for tomorrow’s renewable energy sources.

The bones are not thrown

The Greens of the European Parliament praised the failure of “the largest greenwashing operation to date” and called the vote a “slap” for France. NGOs also welcomed the “positive” signal. For ClientEarth, this vote is “a nail in the coffin of turning on gas” in green finance, “blatant climate self-sabotage.”

These votes “do not necessarily predict the outcome of the plenary session”, however, several European sources emphasize. MEPs from Central Europe, countries that play a major role with the inclusion of nuclear energy and gas, are underrepresented in the two committees that voted, but will attend the plenary session. Voting methods are also taken into account: a positive majority is required to object. In other words, absentees and dependents will play in favor of the Commission’s text.

Fencing

Proponents of the text have already taken up the pilgrim’s staff. In a column published online on Monday, MEP Pascal Canfin (Renew), chairman of the Environment Committee, fiercely defended the compromise reached between Paris, Berlin and the European Commission. He recalls that many precautionary measures are planned, such as the fact that any new gas plant must replace a coal-fired plant, or that the scheme will clearly distinguish between financial products, including or not including gas and nuclear, to allow investors to act consciously. .

On the side of the European Council, a dozen countries oppose the inclusion of nuclear energy, others refuse to include gas. But no camp can get the qualified majority needed to reject a very difficult compromise. In fact, there will be a decisive vote in parliament in early July on this file, which divides Europe so much.