EXCLUSIVE Legal professionals warn EU in opposition to labelling fuel as a ‘inexperienced’ funding

Storage tanks are seen at an (LNG) facility at Waterston, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Britain, September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Rebecca Naden/File Picture

  • ClientEarth says transfer would breach a number of EU legal guidelines
  • Brussels choice on fuel in ‘taxonomy’ due this yr

BRUSSELS, Oct 7 (Reuters) – The environmental legislation agency ClientEarth has warned the European Union that it might be breaching its personal legal guidelines if it labels investments in gas-fuelled power as “inexperienced” in upcoming finance laws.

In a Wednesday letter to the bloc’s govt seen by Reuters, ClientEarth stated categorising fuel as environmentally pleasant would violate different legal guidelines, together with the EU’s legally binding goal to scale back its internet greenhouse fuel emissions by at the least 55% by 2030 from 1990 ranges, and produce them to zero by 2050.

The EU is near ending the local weather portion of its sustainable finance taxonomy, a first-of-its-kind regulation that goals to steer personal capital out of polluting financial actions and into these the EU deems environmentally pleasant.

The European Fee is anticipated to decide within the coming months on whether or not the local weather taxonomy, the majority of which it proposed guidelines for earlier this yr, will label pure fuel and nuclear power as inexperienced investments.

“If it have been adopted, that is prone to enhance investments in actions utilising pure fuel and could be in complete contradiction with the commitments undertaken by the European Fee each at worldwide and EU degree,” ClientEarth stated within the letter.

A European Fee official stated it had obtained the letter and would reply “in due time”.

ClientEarth stated laws that supported funding for fuel would divert cash that might in any other case be spent on renewable power. The taxonomy wouldn’t block traders from placing cash into fuel initiatives, however it might ban them from labelling such investments as sustainable.

The attorneys added fuel additionally fails to fulfill a key plank of the taxonomy regulation, which states that to be deemed local weather pleasant investments should “contribute considerably to the stabilisation of greenhouse fuel emissions at a degree that stops harmful anthropogenic local weather change.”

Whereas fuel is just not as polluting as coal, it nonetheless produces carbon emissions when burned and is linked to potent methane emissions, each of which should be quickly diminished to fulfill the Paris local weather objectives.

Nonetheless, some EU nations see fuel as a transition gas and say it needs to be included within the taxonomy to assist investments that may assist them part out coal-fuelled power.

The disagreement has fuelled in depth lobbying from governments and compelled the Fee to delay its choice on fuel by virtually a yr.

Tensions have been stoked additional in current weeks as European fuel costs have soared to document excessive ranges, prompting some nations to name for a quicker shift away from fossil fuels to scale back publicity to risky costs.

Reporting by Kate Abnett and Simon Jessop; Modifying by Aurora Ellis

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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