London, Wednesday, 2 February 2022 -
The European Commission passed a law on Wednesday that designates gas and nuclear projects as "green" for investment, provoking questions about the EU's commitment to climate change.
At a news conference, EU Commissioner for Finance Mairead McGuinness announced a modification to the European Commission's transparency tool, taxonomy, which adds certain gas and nuclear activities to the list of ecologically sustainable economic activities.
McGuinness termed it "another step toward a climate-neutral economy" and justified the categorization controversy, calling it a "imperfect" way to achieving "a low-carbon future powered by renewable energy."
Gas and nuclear operations, she said, can only be included in the taxonomy if they contribute to the transition to climate neutrality under "strict criteria."
Nuclear activities must meet stringent environmental and safety requirements, while gas projects can only be permitted if they help to move away from highly polluting coal plants and toward renewables, she explained.
Since the taxonomy transparency system was intended to attract more money for registered companies, the revisions are expected to influence private investors across the EU.
Greenwashing is being criticized.
Several EU politicians, including those from Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, and Sweden, have spoken out against the amendment during its preparations, claiming that designating fossil fuels as sustainable goes against the spirit of the Green Deal project and the original rule.
The European Commission has also been chastised for passing the contentious proposal through a legal process that necessitates an absolute majority of EU legislators or at least 20 of the 27 member states to veto it.
The European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, was appointed in 2019 with the goal of combating climate change and moving the EU to carbon neutrality by 2050.
In 2020, the EU executive body implemented the so-called taxonomy regulation, which established a classification system for ecologically friendly economic activity as part of the EU administrative body's European Green Deal project.
The regulation's goal was to direct private funds into environmentally friendly economic investments while also preventing companies from "greenwashing" (pretending to be environmentally friendly) by defining exactly what activities qualify as sustainable.
At the same time, major countries such as France, which gets 70% of its energy from nuclear power plants, and Germany, which just finished building the Nord Stream II gas pipeline, have backed the adjustments.
(Research and editing by: The Decision Maker)