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Green energies. | Posted on 2022-07-07 10:59

EU credibility crippled after MEPs accepted calling gas and nuclear green, NGOs says.


In a tight vote, the European Parliament failed today to veto the inclusion of gas and nuclear in the list of sustainable investments. The EEB challenges the legitimacy of an act of institutional greenwashing that does not count with enough support inside and outside the EU institutions.

Overstepping its powers and under huge pressure from lobbies, the European Commission proposed to label fossil gas and nuclear energy as sustainable investments earlier this year. 

Despite its long-term environmental, economic and social impacts, this act was presented as secondary legislation, meaning that it could not be amended and that only an absolute majority of the European Parliament or the Council could reject it. This procedure should be reserved only for technical aspects and not for avoiding democratic scrutiny on political decisions of major significance.

Today, 278 MEPs from every political group voted to protect the credibility of the EU Taxonomy. Ignoring science and expert advice, 328 MEPs regrettably chosed to let the greenwashed proposal pass. This tight vote reveals the lack of consensus around the proposal to consider gas and nuclear “green investments”. Beyond the environmental movement, opposition to this greenwashed plan has emerged within the EU institutions themselves, voiced by the European Investment Bank and several EU lawmakers, as well as by the investors and banks.

Billions of euros in ‘green’ financing now risk being diverted into polluting energy sources that are far from being harmless and temporary, at the expense of energy efficiency and renewables. This decision arrives at the worst geopolitical moment when Europe is trying to get out of its heavy reliance on energy imports. More investment in gas and uranium will only take us further away from energy independence.

Patrick ten Brink, Secretary-General of the EEB, says:

“Since its very formulation as secondary legislation, the Commission's proposal to deem nuclear and gas as greens has lacked democratic legitimacy. By ignoring science and expert advice, the EU institutions have collectively failed to resist vested interests. Without any doubt, the credibility of the European green project is today weaker than yesterday. Civil society organizations see this political act as an unjustifiable breach of the EU Green Deal promises”

Marco Musso, Policy Officer on Fiscal Reform at the EEB, says:

“Citizens, civil society as well as the scientific and investor communities are left astonished by this act of institutionalized greenwashing. The decision to label fossil gas and nuclear as sustainable investments represents a serious blow to the transparency and governance of the overall process, putting at risk the further development of the EU Sustainable Finance framework. The Commission’s green leadership is severely damaged, they must now demonstrate again with facts their commitment to the Green Deal”


European MEPs from the far right and the majority of the EPP today voted in favour of the EU Commission’s proposal to inexplicably label gas as ‘green’ in the EU’s taxonomy of sustainable investments by 328 to 278. Europe’s elected representatives have let citizens down, says Transport & Environment, which has labelled the vote a disaster for the climate and a gift to Putin.

Luca Bonaccorsi, sustainable finance director at T&E, said:“This must be the biggest act of greenwashing in history; enacted by the same people that are supposed to protect us from the climate crisis. The sun won’t set in the east just because a bunch of complicit politicians say so in a law. Nor will gas ever be clean and renewable. The laws of nature don’t lie, but the taxonomy does. This bill will not stand up to the many legal challenges being announced, and it will be shunned by investors.”

The provisions allow all new gas plants to be labelled green under the condition that they will be used ‘sparingly’. This undermines the credibility of sustainable investing, says T&E, since no green fund or green bond includes gas today. At best the EU’s rules will be ignored, at worst it will fuel a whole industry of fake green investments.

Luca Bonaccorsi, concluded: “On top of being environmentally disastrous the bill is also unfair, with almost 75% of the estimated green funds going to France and Germany. The criteria to access green funds have been skillfully designed to steer all funds towards the two member states that co-authored the law. This is a truly sad day for Europe.”

Info :

 The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe's largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations, standing for environmental justice, sustainable development and participatory democracy. Our experts work on climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, air, water, soil, chemical pollution, as well as policies on industry, energy, agriculture, product design and waste prevention. Also active on overarching issues such as sustainable development, good governance, participatory democracy and the rule of law in Europe and beyond, the organization has over 180 members in over 38 countries. 


Posted on 2022-07-07 10:59

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