Press release:6 July 2022
Environmental lawyers eye legal action as EP greenlights gas in the Taxonomy
Members of the European Parliament have today greenlighted the inclusion of fossil gas and nuclear in the EU’s sustainable finance rulebook.
The EU Taxonomy sets the rules for what counts as an environmentally sustainable economic activity. Approved by the Commission in February, the delegated act classifies fossil gas and nuclear as environmentally sustainable.
Members of European Parliament have today validated this classification – despite a veto by the joint ENVI/ECON committee last month.
ClientEarth lawyer Marta Toporek said: “Today’s vote is extremely disappointing and seriously risks putting the EU’s climate goals out of reach.
“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.
“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.”
Notes to editors:
In October 2021, ClientEarth published a legal analysis showing that including gas in the Taxonomy creates a serious risk of clash with other EU laws, in particular:
- The EU’s obligations under the Paris Agreement;
- EU climate laws, including the recently adopted European Climate Law with its commitment to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and a minimum 55% CO2 reduction by 2030;
- The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which requires the EU to “pursue a high degree of environmental protection and international cooperation to combat climate change”;
- The Taxonomy Regulation itself because gas activities do not meet the definition of “climate change mitigation”, one of the Taxonomy’s categories, and they do not comply with EU Taxonomy requirements for “transition” measures.
In June 2022, ClientEarth sent a letter to MEPs to call on them to vote against the inclusion of gas in the Taxonomy.
ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.