Lawmakers from the environment and economy committees voted on Tuesday (June 14) to reject a European Commission plan proposed in February to label certain gas and nuclear power projects as sustainable investments until 2030.
“Taxonomy objection accepted! 76 votes for, 62 against and 4 abstentions. Yes!!”, Green MEP Bas Eickhout tweeted shortly after the vote.
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A longtime opponent, he has been one of the driving forces behind a cross-party coalition of left, centre-left, green, liberal and far-left MPs who argue there should be no room for nuclear and gas energy projects in the EU. -called Taxonomy for Sustainable Investments.
A final vote will take place during the Strasbourg plenary in July, but it is still unclear whether the taxonomy will be rejected.
At an event on Monday, Greens MEP Michael Bloss said the margins were too close to call.
In response, commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie said the inclusion of gas and nuclear as green investments is “important” because it can be used as a tool for decarbonisation.
But that claim has been denied by the commission’s own scientific advisory body in the past.
“It will seriously damage the credibility of the taxonomy, and I recommend that MPs reject it,” Sebastian Godinot told a parliamentary hearing in May.
He also pointed out that credit rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor also exclude gas and nuclear projects from their green ratings.
“The current EU taxonomy will do worse than the current one [private sector] green bond standards,” he said.
Investors see the taxonomy as the gold standard that will define what is green for every economic activity, down to grams of CO₂ per unit of output.
Commercial investors and public authorities around the world can use the 414-page rulebook to determine their investment strategies and ensure that they are in line with EU emission reduction targets and the principle of no – environmental damage.
In a thwarted decision, the commission, after months of intense lobbying by nuclear-dependent France and gas-dependent countries in Eastern Europe, decided to include gas and nuclear projects that exceed green guidelines set out in the taxonomy.
Hartwig Liesch, chief investment officer at the Dutch Pension Fund, told the parliamentary hearing that the inclusion is “not helpful” because it dilutes the meaning of green investing, making it more complex.
In January, EIB chief Werner Hoyer told the bank’s annual press conference that the complexity of the proposed rules left investors “sleepy”.