EU Parliament: Natural gas and nuclear energy receive eco-labels

Status: 07/06/2022 16:40

The European Parliament approved the classification of natural gas and nuclear energy as sustainable. Nothing should stand in the way of the relevant Commission proposal. But not every country is willing to accept the vote.

The European Parliament has paved the way for considering investments in natural gas and nuclear energy to be sustainable under certain conditions. She rejected the objection to the regulation of the European Commission on the so-called taxonomy.

At least 353 of the 705 MPs would have to vote against in order to stop the green seal for nuclear energy and gas. 328 voted against, 278 in favor and 33 abstained.

The European Parliament approves the classification of gas and nuclear energy as environmentally friendly

Bettina Scharkus, ARD Strasbourg, daily news at 17:00 Jul 6, 2022

The so-called financial market taxonomy rules should therefore apply from 2023. A taxonomy is a classification system designed to guide private investment in sustainable economic activities to help combat climate change.

Implementation of the Commission’s proposals can still be prevented if at least 20 EU countries, representing at least 65 percent of the total EU population, join forces by 11 July. However, given the interest of many countries in the use of nuclear energy, it is considered impossible to obtain a suitable majority in the EU Council.

The federal government does not want to sue – Austria does

The federal government does not want to challenge the EU decision. Nevertheless, the position that nuclear energy is unsustainable persists, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said. This has also been emphatically presented to the European Commission and other Member States.

Austria, in turn, announced that it would take legal action against it. “Over the past weeks and months, we have been preparing intensively for this case and will file a lawsuit on time,” said Minister of Environment Leonore Gewessler. According to Gewessler, this decision does not do justice to the Green Deal and European efforts for a good and climate-friendly future. “It is neither credible, ambitious, nor knowledge-based, it jeopardizes our future and is more than irresponsible.”

According to Gewessler, Luxembourg has already agreed to participate in the trial.

The federal government remains distanced from the EU’s nuclear taxonomy – information from Bettina Scharkus, ARD Straßburg

tagesschau24 14:00, 6/07/2022

The driving force of France

The driving force behind the controversial plans is France. Nuclear energy, which is clearly dominant there, does not cause any climate-damaging CO2 emissions, but it does generate radioactive waste. Gas is also perceived by some EU countries, such as Poland, as a lesser evil compared to coal that is even more harmful to the climate.

Before the vote, environmentalists called on MEPs to vote against the new taxonomy bill.

Criticism from many ranks

While the EU regulation was ultimately not stopped, criticism was heard from all factions. “The gas and nuclear lobbies have won, the climate has lost,” commented Rasmus Andresen, spokesman for the German Greens in the European Parliament. Cornelia Ernst, Die Linke’s energy policy spokeswoman, made a similar statement: “This decision destroys the appeal of the taxonomy of green and sustainable energy labeling,” she said.

Joachim Schuster, spokesman for the SPD’s economic and financial policy in the European Parliament, spoke of a “bluff”. And CSU MEP and EPP economic policy spokesman Markus Ferber sees a threat to the credibility of the entire taxonomy.

There has also been harsh criticism outside of Parliament. Greenpeace, WWF and Deutsche Umwelthilfe are investigating legal action. The representative of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) in Brussels, Katrin Hatzinger, said the vote was recorded with regret. The decision jeopardizes the credibility of the taxonomy.

The European Parliament approves the classification of gas and nuclear energy as sustainable

Astrid Corall, ARD-Strasbourg, 6/7/2022 12:49

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