The European Parliament did not object to the Commission’s Taxonomy Delegated Act to include specific nuclear and gas energy activities, under certain conditions, in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the so-called EU Taxonomy.
As the European Commission believes there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the green transition, it has proposed the classification of certain fossil gas and nuclear energy activities as transitional activities contributing to climate change mitigation. The inclusion of certain gas and nuclear activities is time-limited and dependent on specific conditions and transparency requirements.
278 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, 328 against and 33 abstained. An absolute majority of 353 MEPs was needed for Parliament to veto the European Commission’s proposal. If neither Parliament, nor Council object to the proposal by 11 July 2022, the Taxonomy Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of 1 January 2023.
The Taxonomy regulation is part of the European Commission’s action plan on financing sustainable growth and aims to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’.
In a joint meeting of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee on 14 June, MEPs adopted an objection to the Commission’s proposal to include specific nuclear and gas energy activities in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the so-called EU Taxonomy, with 76 votes to 62 votes and 4 abstentions.
MEPs recognise the role of nuclear and fossil gas in guaranteeing stable energy supply during the transition to a sustainable economy. But they consider that the technical screening standards proposed by the Commission, in its delegated regulation, to support their inclusion do not respect the criteria for environmentally sustainable economic activities as set out in Article 3 of the Taxonomy Regulation.
The resolution adopted by MEPs also requests that any new or amended delegated acts should be subject to a public consultation and impact assessments, as they could have significant economic, environmental, and social impacts.
Member states continue to be free to decide on their energy mix and investors may continue to invest as they wish, as there is no obligation on investors to invest solely in economic activities that meet specific criteria.