MEPs vote to classify gas and nuclear as 'green' investments

7th July 2022

The European Parliament has this week failed to veto plans to include fossil gas and nuclear power in the EU Taxonomy rules for sustainable investment activities.

In a relatively close vote, 328 MEPs voted against a proposal to block the inclusion of gas and nuclear, while 278 voted in favour.

This was the final political opportunity to amend the draft taxonomy rules, which aim to provide a science-based framework for determining what investments classify as green and sustainable.

If the expected legal challenges are unsuccessful, fossil gas and nuclear power investments will be deemed sustainable activities as of January 2023.

Tsvetelina Kuzmanova, policy advisor for sustainable finance at the think tank E3G, said that the vote has “officially validated greenwashing by law”.

She continued: “The process and the decision have been entirely political, not scientific, to only benefit a small number of member states.

"This would not stand a chance in court, and will only create more uncertainty for financial markets and jeopardise the EU’s climate ambition.”

Policymakers have been extremely divided over the role of gas and nuclear power in managing the EU's climate transition following the war in Ukraine and subsequent proposals to end Russian fossil fuel imports.

Several member states have already indicated their intention to challenge the new taxonomy rules in court, suggesting that the saga is set to continue.

Meanwhile, environmental lawyers at ClientEarth have published analysis outlining how the inclusion of gas creates a serious risk of clash with other EU laws, in particular, obligations under the Paris Agreement.

“Branding fossil gas as transitional and green in the taxonomy is unlawful as it clashes with the EU’s key climate legislation, including the European Climate Law and the taxonomy regulation itself,” said Marta Toporek, one of the group's lawyers.

“ClientEarth, alongside other organisations, will now be looking at options to challenge the inclusion of fossil gas in the taxonomy in court – greenwashing cannot win.”

Image credit: iStock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close