EU votes gas and nuclear into Taxonomy

July 08, 2022

Gas and nuclear supported as green activities by EU MEPs

The European Parliament has rejected a motion to oppose the inclusion of gas and nuclear energy generation as an environmentally sustainable economic activity.

328 MEPs voted against the resolution, 278 in favour and 33 abstained. An absolute majority in favour would have been needed to veto their inclusion.

As a result, the EU Taxonomy Act could include both gas and nuclear activities as green, under certain conditions, when it comes into effect from January 2023. EU policymakers have stated there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities to enable a successful green transition and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

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Despite this, the proposal has been met with resistance with some believing it dampens efforts to transition to a fully net-zero emissions economy.

The Commission has proposed the classification of certain fossil gases and nuclear energy activities to be utilised for transitional means in an attempt to mitigate climate change. This could be time-limited and dependent on specific criteria.

The inclusion of both nuclear and gas within the Taxonomy had been met with strong resistance from member states such as Austria and Luxembourg, which both threatened legal action against the proposal.

Following the outcome of the vote, it is expected both nations will challenge the law in court.

The Taxonomy is part of the Commission’s action plan on financing sustainable growth, which is designed to boost green investments and prevent ‘greenwashing’. It could be key to accelerating the transition to net-zero emissions across a range of sectors.

Member states are free to decide on their energy mix and investors may continue to invest as they wish. There is no obligation on investors to invest solely in economic activities that meet specific criteria.

Should neither the Council nor Parliament object to the proposal by 11 July 2022, the Taxonomy Act could enter into force from 2023.

Last Updated: 8 July 2022