Gas and nuclear energy can be introduced into the EU’s taxonomy, but under strict conditions and not as green energy, MEPs from the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) said on Monday.
„It is not white or black. Whether you are pro-gas or anti-gas, for or against nuclear energy, in the end the agreement we have to find is not one in black and white. When it replaces coal, and I insist on that because it is the only case where it makes sense, gas can be seen as a source of transitional energy.”, Pascal Canfin, MEP from the Renew Europe Group and chairman of the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee, said on Monday.
He stressed that such a measure should “have an end, because otherwise it would not be compatible with climate neutrality in 2050”.
„Gas can be introduced in the taxonomy, but under strict conditions and not as green energy, but in the transition category. The same is true for nuclear energy. It cannot be in the green category of taxonomy because of waste and risk. But because it is completely decarbonized, it can also be introduced under conditions, in the transition category”, said Pascal Canfin, during a press briefing organized by the European Parliament, on the objectives of the community legislation at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
What is the EU Taxonomy
The EU taxonomy is a classification system at the level of the EU bloc, designed to provide companies and investors with a common language for identifying economic activities that are considered environmentally sustainable. This measure aims to help investors reorient their investments towards more sustainable technologies and is considered a key factor in enabling the European Union to become climate neutral by 2050 and meet the 2030 targets set in the Agreement. Paris.
Bas Eickhout, MEP from the Greens group, vice-president of the ENVI Commission and rapporteur of the European Parliament’s resolution on the climate adopted before COP26, said he was more reserved about accepting gas and energy in the EU taxonomy, Agerpres reports.
The EU wants to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025
„This is a very acute discussion we have about the taxonomy, about what will be labeled ‘green’, it’s something the Commission is working on. Gas can be seen as a transition, but in the end it is still fossil fuel. We, the European Parliament, mentioned in the resolution adopted before Glasgow that we want to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and that means ending these subsidies altogether. A coalition is now growing to end external fossil fuel subsidies, which the Netherlands has just joined. Parliament has said that we want to stop subsidies for fossil fuels and at the same time we want to introduce them into the green taxonomy, which basically means promoting gas investments and, de facto, being a subsidy. I don’t think we’re very consistent”, said Bas Eickhout.
The Dutch MEP also stated that there must be a deadline for such a measure and it must also be very clear what amount of gas it is.
„I think we need to introduce more nuances into this discussion, and this lobby for gas and nuclear energy needs to be peeled off and we have to go into detail about what we mean by that. I’m not saying we don’t need gas, but producing gas with electricity is not a green investment. It doesn’t mean it’s not a necessary investment, but calling it green is another matter. I think a lot more nuances are needed”, the Dutch MEP also stated.
Read also: European Commission to allocate € 1 billion to global commitment signed at COP26 by world leaders to protect forests
“Nuclear energy must not be Romania’s main option”
„As for nuclear energy, it is not the cheapest and I would not go for it as the main option if I were Romania “, he added, answering a question about the concrete situation of Romania and other Eastern European countries.
The two MEPs, along with Lidia Pereira, a member of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament, represent the EU legislature at the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
The Glasgow summit has a lot of momentum
„There is more momentum in Glasgow than expected, this is important news, “said Bas Eickhout, who has been in Glasgow since Monday to take part in the conference.
„Some of the sectoral agreements are interesting, but not all, to be honest. I would say, as a rule of thumb, that if you have a statement that is supported by 50 states or more, then it is probably not a very strong statement. When you don’t see so many countries joining, the statement is probably a challenging one, as is the case with the declaration on giving up external subsidies for fossil fuels by 2022, which only a few European countries have joined. ” added Bas Eickhout.
The Dutch MEP believes that „last week was one of announcements, and this week will be one of negotiations, in which we agree that the commitments will be put into practice. “
For her part, Portuguese MEP Lidia Pereira urges caution about expectations about the results of COP26, but at the same time believes that the EU-negotiated Green Pact can be a model for the whole world.
„I think there is still room for some goals in the last days of meetings, but I think it is important to point out that if 27 countries have reached an agreement on a climate law, I think we may have the same ambition for the whole world. We know, Europe knows, that we are the least responsible for CO2 emissions, but at the same time we are the ones who have shown leadership in the last decade and we have put the environment at the forefront of European policy, “said Lidia Pereira.
„We are probably the most advanced area on the planet. We now need to explain, convince and hopefully inspire others, “said Pascal Canfin, referring to the EU’s plan to combat climate change.
Read also: Barack Obama, speech at COP26 on the danger of climate change: We cannot afford to be hopeless ”
Editor: Marco Badea