Grohnde nuclear power plant in Lower Saxony
Julian Stratenschulte / dpa
The European Parliament has cleared the way for investments in natural gas and nuclear power to be considered sustainable under certain conditions.
A resolution to block the so-called taxonomy did not get the necessary majority in the Strasbourg parliament on Wednesday.
278 MEPs voted in favor of the blockade, 328 against and 33 abstained.
An absolute majority of 353 of the 705 deputies would have been required for the blockade.
The rules for the financial market should therefore take effect from 2023.
Only a veto by 20 of the 27 member states could still prevent this, which is considered very unlikely.
The EU taxonomy is a classification system designed to steer private investment into sustainable economic activities to help fight climate change.
The taxonomy is relevant for companies because it influences the investment decisions of investors and could therefore have an impact on the financing costs of projects, for example.
Investors should also be able to avoid investments in climate-damaging economic sectors.
As a first step, a decision was made last year to classify electricity production with solar panels, hydroelectric power or wind power as climate-friendly.
Print from France
At the end of last year, under pressure from some member states, the EU Commission responsible for legislative proposals also proposed classifying investments in gas and nuclear power plants as climate-friendly under certain conditions.
France, which sees nuclear power as a key technology for a CO2-free economy and would like to continue exporting the technology to other countries, played a decisive role in this.
In return, Germany advocated a green label for gas as a transitional technology.
The implementation of the Commission's proposal can still be prevented if at least 20 EU states, representing at least 65 percent of the total population of the EU, join forces by July 11th.
However, given the interest of many states in the use of nuclear power, it is considered impossible that a corresponding majority will be achieved in the Council of the EU.
Before the vote, environmentalists had urged MEPs to vote against the new taxonomy act.
Among other things, they criticize the fact that greenhouse gases are emitted when energy is generated using natural gas.
In the case of nuclear power, the main problem is the waste, but also possible accidents.
Recently, opponents have also argued that incentives to invest in the construction of new gas-fired power plants stand in stark contrast to efforts to become independent of Russian gas.
After the vote, Greenpeace announced that it would take legal action against the Commission.
In an initial reaction, Fridays for Future spoke of a “catastrophic decision”.
The organization Finanzwende called the decision a “disaster for sustainable financial markets”.
Proponents, on the other hand, point to the need for transitional technologies and to the fact that liquid gas, for example from the USA, or hydrogen can also be used to operate gas-fired power plants.
Editor's note: An earlier version of the report said that the EU Commission classified oil and gas as climate-friendly, in fact it is nuclear power and gas. We corrected the mistake.
Editor's note: An earlier version of the report said that the EU Commission classified oil and gas as climate-friendly, in fact it is nuclear power and gas.
We corrected the mistake.