July 6, 2022
“Taxonomy vote is nail in the coffin for the EU’s climate ambitions” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Taxonomy vote is nail in the coffin for the EU’s climate ambitions” – Chris MacManus MEP

STRASBOURG, 6 July 2022 – Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has criticised the European Parliament’s failure to object against the labelling of gas and nuclear energy as sustainable investments. “Today’s vote in the European Parliament is a major blow for the energy transition, and the huge amounts of finance that need to be mobilised to ensure that we meet our climate goals in a socially just way. It is incredibly disappointing that a majority of MEPs did not oppose the greenwashing attempt to include gas and nuclear in the EU’s 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 economic 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 towards sustainable activities. 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. However, 328 MEPs approved this move today, with 278 opposing the Commission’s Complementary Delegated Act. 

Speaking after the vote in Strasbourg, 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. I regret that so many MEPs chose not to follow the scientific advice.

I know many people will be perplexed by the result today. I have received hundreds of emails from concerned constituents asking their MEPs to oppose this greenwashing. 

“This vote is the nail in the coffin of the EU’s climate goals. The ambitious targets and impressive language of the European Green Deal were already standing on shaky foundations after the parliament’s vote on the Emissions Trading Scheme. Now that fossil gas is officially classified as a sustainable investment by EU law, those ambitious targets will be even more difficult to achieve. While the fight for better EU climate policy will continue, today’s vote will certainly make it an uphill battle.” ENDS

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