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MacManus welcomes EP committee objection to labelling gas and nuclear as sustainable

14 June, 2022 - by Chris MacManus MEP

MacManus welcomes EP committee objection to labelling gas and nuclear as sustainable

BRUSSELS, 14 June 2022 - Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has welcomed the European Parliament’s objection against the labelling of gas and nuclear energy as sustainable investments. “This is an important first step,” said MacManus, “with a majority of MEPs on the Economic Affairs and Environment Committees opposed to the greenwashing attempt to include gas and nuclear in the EU’ Sustainable Finance Taxonomy.”

The objection was tabled against a Complementary Delegated Act to the Taxonomy Regulation. The Regulation sets the rules for what type of activities can be considered to contribute to the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal while doing no other significant harm to the environment. It is intended to guide private and public investment, in an effort to redirect finance from polluting activities to sustainable ones. The Taxonomy does not outlaw certain investments or prevent Member States from deciding on their own energy mix.

The Complementary Delegated Act, tabled by Commissioner McGuinness in January 2022, aims to include certain gas and nuclear energy activities in the taxonomy, putting them on an equal footing with renewable energies. The proposal has met with significant criticism, amid concerns that the addition of nuclear and gas will undermine the whole taxonomy, which was intended to provide a clear and science-based guide to sustainable investments for both private and public finance.

Speaking after the committee vote in Brussels, MacManus said, “I voted for this objection, as the Complementary Delegated Act clearly goes too far and is not the right solution for managing the transition. The Commission’s own expert platform has confirmed that the inclusion of gas in the taxonomy in this way is not compatible with the EU’s climate goals, and that there are not enough safeguards around nuclear energy to be able to consider that it does no environmental harm.”

The European Parliament cannot amend the text, but can table an objection to oppose the act outright. A majority of MEPs in the Environment and Economic Affairs Committees voted for an objection to the Complementary Delegated Act. 76 MEPs voted in favour of the objection, 62 opposed, and 4 abstained. Now, it will be put to the vote again, this time for all MEPs, at the Strasbourg plenary session between 4-7 July. If the objection is approved by the majority of MEPs, the Complementary Delegated Act cannot pass into law.

MacManus said, “In an effort to craft a political compromise on gas and nuclear, the Commission has overstepped and is now trying to tack on a transition management angle to the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, which was intended to provide an unambiguous standard as to what activities contribute to our long-term climate and biodiversity goals. It is positive to see a majority forming among MEPs to reject the Delegated Act. An objection at plenary would send a strong signal that, as the latest IPCC report made abundantly clear, there is no time left for substandard climate legislation.” ENDS

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