EXCLUSIVE: Newly unearthed pictures show Danny Masterson breaking cover at his country hideaway in California as appeals court rules rape accusers’ harassment suit can proceed…
Activists including Greta Thunberg criticise ‘fake climate action’ in response to planned investment taxonomy
Last modified on Tue 21 Dec 2021 12.53 EST
The European Commission is facing a backlash from Greta Thunberg and fellow climate activists over plans to include gas and nuclear energy in a “green” investment guidebook.
Both energy sources are expected to feature in the next part of the EU’s “taxonomy for sustainable activities”, which is expected at the end of the year, following a period of intense political bargaining between the commission president, Ursula von der Leyen; the French president, Emmanuel Macron; and Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz.
The EU taxonomy is a green classification system that is intended to guide investors to projects that are in line with Europe’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and better protection of nature.
An EU official said gas and nuclear were likely to have “amber” status, meaning they would not be in the “green” category with wind and solar power, but would feature in the taxonomy. A senior EU diplomat said they expected to see nuclear in the text because “Von der Leyen seems to have promised it to Macron and the other nuclear states”.
EU efforts will be closely watched by the UK, which is developing its own green taxonomy that the government says will “help clamp down on greenwashing – unsubstantiated or exaggerated claims that an investment is environmentally friendly”.
The EU taxonomy became law in July 2020, but legislators left important details to be resolved through so-called delegated acts – secondary legislation meant for technical issues that is not subject to the same degree of ministerial and parliamentary oversight.
Since then, the project has been overshadowed by a fierce political row that culminated when EU leaders meeting in Brussels last week were forced to abandon plans for a joint statement on energy policy. France wants a stamp of approval for nuclear, while Poland and eastern European states insist gas is labelled a “sustainable” investment.
Germany’s new Social Democrat chancellor is under pressure from his Green coalition partners not to give in to pressure to include nuclear or gas in the system. Scholz downplayed the taxonomy last week as “a tiny issue on a much broader topic”.
However, the growing expectation of a Franco-German bargain that brings gas and nuclear into the taxonomy has triggered an excoriating response from Thunberg and nine fellow climate activists. In an article on the Euractiv website, the young activists accused EU leaders of making empty promises at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, which ended with a fragile hope of keeping alive a target to limit global heating to no more than 1.5C. “There is no space for cowardly decisions, like allowing for this fake climate action,” they wrote, citing the taxonomy.
Bas Eickhout, a Dutch Green MEP and vice-chair of the European parliament’s environment committee, said there was no need for Von der Leyen to include gas and nuclear in the taxonomy. “We have a taxonomy that is now working, and green labels for green activities have been agreed,” he said, referring to the first taxonomy list covering renewables and other green investments signed off earlier this month. “We don’t need green labels for gas and nuclear.”
Including gas in the taxonomy would be inconsistent with promises at Cop26 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, Eickhout said. “If Europe now starts calling [gas] green then you can forget about the 1.5 degrees.”
The European Commission is expected to publish the draft taxonomy on 31 December, allowing a few weeks of consultation with experts and governments. The final proposals may be published on 12 January and could only be blocked by a super-majority of EU member states – an outcome no one expects.
Source: Read Full Article