The European Parliament on Wednesday gave its backing to a proposal to temporarily define natural gas and nuclear power as green investments by a vote of 328 for and 278 against. (Patrick Hertzog – AFP/Lehtikuva)


MEMBERS of the European Parliament on Wednesday voted 328 for and 278 against a proposal to temporarily classify natural gas and nuclear power as environmentally sustainable.

The European Commission proposed at the turn of the year that the power sources be included in a taxonomy of environmentally sustainable economic activities, a classification system intended to encourage green investment, as “transitional solutions” as the 27-country bloc moves toward renewable energy.

Investments in certain nuclear power plants and natural gas-fuelled plants using the latest technology can thus be labelled as sustainable investments, according to the EU.

Iiris Suomela, a deputy chairperson of the Green League, described the vote result as “extremely frustrating” for the climate.

The objective of the taxonomy, she reminded, is to ensure investments are targeted effectively at solutions that combat the climate crisis and to guarantee that investors making sustainable decisions do not inadvertently support activities that are harmful to the environment.

“Now this guarantee is missing,” she wrote.

“The taxonomy is not about prohibitions but about providing information to investors. The classification must absolutely be based on research data – not on a purely political game, which is clearly more important than research for some politicians.”

“Natural gas is a fossil fuel, the use of which generates emissions that accelerate global warming. These facts do not change even if you claimed that gas was a sustainable form of energy.”

Granting natural gas the green label was also questioned from another viewpoint, wrote Helsingin Sanomat. Inna Sovsun, a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, reminded European lawmakers a day before the vote that classifying natural gas as a green investment would be a way of indirectly supporting Russia.

“The EU can’t support Ukraine and, at the same time, build a society that’s based on cheap natural gas from Russia,” she stated in the European Parliament on Tuesday.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is rubbing his hands with glee today,” she tweeted after the results of the vote came in on Wednesday.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT