Poland, Bulgaria and seven other countries have stepped up their push to ensure natural gas is classed as a sustainable investment under EU finance rules, warning Brussels its latest proposal falls short, a document seen by Reuters showed.
The European Union’s so-called ‘taxonomy’ is a key part of the bloc’s sustainable finance agenda as it looks to funnel billions of euros into activities that will help it reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The Commission had hoped to publish the rules for the climate change-related parts of the taxonomy in January, but delayed this to April after countries and companies objected to a first draft of the rules, which denied gas power plants a green label.
A new draft proposal seen by Reuters last week showed the Commission has now proposed giving some gas plants a sustainable label under strict conditions.
More than 200 scientists, finance experts and campaigners last week urged the Commission to hold its ground and exclude gas – which they said is crucial to aligning the taxonomy with science-based goals to avert catastrophic climate change.
Meanwhile, nine countries, including Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Malta and Romania, on Friday produced a joint document opposing the new proposal. The group, plus Slovakia, had also opposed the Commission’s first proposal for failing to support gas.
The group said the new proposal ignores the individual needs of EU member states – with many of the signatory countries planning to use gas to replace more-polluting coal – and asked the Commission to give more gas plants a green label.