European Commission faces lawsuit for missing deadline
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is soon going to publish a list of “green” or sustainable investments. Meanwhile, Europe is split over the possible classification of fossil gas and nuclear energy as “transitional” activities under certain conditions.
The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities is a system of classification that is established to determine which investments are environmentally sustainable.
This system was created in the wake of the European Green Deal in July 2020 and was made to help prevent “greenwashing” among different investments.
For a while, the decision on including nuclear to this list has been a contentious one, with a number of European countries vehemently opposing the classification of nuclear as “green”.
France is leading a group of twelve countries that support the inclusion of nuclear energy as a part of a green taxonomy.
On the other side, five EU countries staunchly oppose these possible decisions.
Austria even went as far as threatening to take the Commission to the EU Court of Justice if they went ahead with the decision.
In an EU leader’s summit in Brussels last month, leaders prepared to include nuclear in this list.
After attending the summit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We need more renewables. They are cheaper, carbon-free and home-grown.
“We also need a stable source, nuclear, and during the transition, gas. This is why we will come forward with our taxonomy proposal.”
To be included in the taxonomy is significant, as it means that many megaprojects that are a part of nuclear investments, will not have trouble gaining support from banks.
Even natural gas has proven to be a contentious topic, as some countries argue that gas is necessary as a stepping stone for them to exit coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels.
But after several failed attempts and a mounting controversy over the role of gas and nuclear power in the energy transition, President von der Leyen has now taken matters into her own hands.
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Pascal Canfin, the chair of the Parliament’s environment committee, proposed a compromise whereby gas and nuclear power would be included in the taxonomy’s “transitional” category – but only under specific conditions and with strict disclosure rules.
Speaking to EURACTIV, he said: “We need to have a very clear safeguard system in place” in order to preserve the scientific integrity of the taxonomy.
“The matter is now in the hands of Ursula Von der Layen.”
The key aspect of Mr Canfin’s proposal is the inclusion of a mandatory disclosure requirement for investors that would allow them to choose whether they want gas or nuclear included in their asset portfolio.
However, the European Commission has also made it clear that any kind of fossil fuels, like natural gas, should only be considered as a transitional fuel and will not be considered a long-term energy source.
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