Brussels (Brussels Morning) The environmental law NGO ClientEarth has warned the EC against labelling gas projects as green, stressing that this would violate some EU laws.
In a letter sent to the Commission on Wednesday, the NGO stated that categorising natural gas projects as environmentally friendly would be in violation of the EU’s legally binding green goals, Reuters reports.
ClientEarth pointed out that the EU had pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
Currently, the bloc is wrapping up its new sustainable finance classification with the aim of directing private investments away from polluting projects and towards those the EU deems to be environmentally friendly.
EC decision expected in months
The EC is to decide in the coming months on the plan to label nuclear energy and natural gas projects as environmentally friendly investments as part of the bloc’s green taxonomy.
“If it were adopted, this is likely to increase investments in activities utilising natural gas and would be in total contradiction with the commitments undertaken by the European Commission both at international and EU level”, the ClientEarth letter asserted.
The Commission acknowledged receiving the letter, adding that it would respond to the NGO “in due time.”
ClientEarth notes its concern that classifying natural gas projects as green might divert funds that would otherwise go towards renewable energy investments.
On the other hand, some EU member states stress the importance of natural gas as a transition fuel, pointing out that including gas in the green taxonomy would help countries to move away from coal.
Disagreements between EU member states and environmentalists have given rise to extensive lobbying, which has caused the EC to delay its decision on classification of natural gas projects by nearly a year.
The recent gas price hike increased tensions further, with some EU countries calling for a joint gas reserve and others pushing for a faster green transition.