The European Parliament supports the green label for gas and nuclear
Strasbourg (France) (AFP) – The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial EU proposal giving a sustainable finance label to gas and nuclear power investments, sparking allegations of “greenwashing” by environmental lobbyists.
MEPs in the city of Strasbourg in eastern France refused to reject the measure, which was backed by France and Germany.
There were 278 votes to stop it while 328 voted for a green light. There were 33 abstentions.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose country has just succeeded France as the rotating EU presidency, tweeted that the result was “great news” for Europe.
“It paves the way for energy self-sufficiency which is absolutely crucial for our future,” he said.
The green label, known in European jargon as the “taxonomy”, for gas and nuclear is the only way for some EU countries “to be able to achieve their climate objectives”, he warned before the vote .
A small but influential group of member states and activists had been pushing for MEPs to reject the label, in a coalition of opponents of nuclear and gas power.
Gas critics point to the war in Ukraine as the most pressing reason to reject the green label, saying encouraging investment would only increase dependence on Russian supplies.
“It’s dirty politics and it’s an outrageous outcome to call gas and nuclear green and keep pouring more money into Putin’s war chest,” said activist Ariadna Rodrigo. of Greenpeace EU for sustainable finance.
“We will fight in court,” she added.
Eco-campaign Greta Thunberg tweeted that the “hypocrisy is striking” and argued that passing parliament will “delay a desperately needed real sustainable transition and deepen our dependence on Russian fuels”.
Critics of nuclear power, meanwhile, point to the threat posed by nuclear accidents and nuclear waste and believe that solar and wind power are the best way forward.
But the EU executive, under pressure from nuclear France and gas-dependent Germany, says both have a role to play as cleaner energy sources during the transition to a net-zero carbon future. .
The EU hopes its label will channel huge amounts of private capital into activities that support climate goals.
Proponents of the taxonomy insist that investing in gas and nuclear is a necessary step on “the path to sustainable energy sources”, said German MEP Christian Ehler.
For this reason, the vote is a “wise decision” that will lead to more renewable energy in the future, he added.
© 2022 AFP