“Let’s stop financing the Russian war with the European taxonomy”

8:30 p.m., July 3, 2022

In February 2022, the European Commission adopted a text to amend the European taxonomy as part of the European Union’s action plan for sustainable finance, aiming for climate neutrality by 2050. This text went against recommendations from experts commissioned by the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group by including nuclear power and gas in the taxonomy against the advice of scientists. While the text has to be discussed and voted on by the European Parliament on Wednesday, July 6, Ukrainian climate scientist Svitlana Krakovska, also a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warns against adopting this version, which has climatic, ecological, but also geopolitical consequences of the war in Ukraine.

In March 2020, the Technical Expert Group (TGE), responsible for setting the terms for the definition of green energy, excluded gas and nuclear energy from the green taxonomy. Why is the question of their integration reappearing today?
I’m not an expert on the policy process, but as a scientist I can say that a taxonomy that includes gas and nuclear is unsustainable and inconsistent with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. The IPCC and even the International Energy Agency have stated very clearly that we urgently need to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Science is based on facts and lots of evidence, not promises. This means that investments that are classified as sustainable must be sustainable from the start and not in a few years. The criteria for gas and nuclear energy correspond to commercial and political interests and are at odds with the goal of putting human societies on a climate-resilient path.

Also read – Climate: Why France is asking the EU to classify nuclear power and gas as “green” energies

A taxonomy that includes gas and nuclear is unsustainable and inconsistent with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees

Why are you against it?
In the first 100 days of the war, the Russian Federation made nearly €1 billion a day in revenue from the sale of fossil fuels. The European Union imported 61% worth around 57 billion euros. This money helps Vladimir Putin finance his war in my country. Since the war began, many people have called for increased gas exploration inside or outside the European Union, while calling for deregulation in the name of energy security. In order to ensure security of supply and reduce dependence on Russian gas or nuclear energy, no new gas or nuclear power plants need to be built in the European Union. The solution is to reduce our energy consumption, for example by insulating buildings or switching to renewable energy sources.

The European taxonomy is the tool that should bring billions of dollars in solutions to climate change with renewable energy. Including gas and nuclear not only makes no economic sense, as the latest IPCC report shows, but would also mean increasing Europe’s dependence on gas, uranium and nuclear energy, including on Russia.

Also read – TRIBUNE. Bernard Accoyer and Louis Gallois: “Europe is stuck in an energy impasse”

Should MPs nevertheless approve the text, it would embolden Vladimir Putin’s regime by supporting a cruel and unjust war and would betray Ukraine.

The evidence shows that state-owned companies such as Gazprom or Rosatom have campaigned extensively for the taxonomy. Two days before the start of the war, the Russian energy minister described that the European taxonomy could bring a number of opportunities to Russia, which was quite cumbersome. If MPs know the text, it would embolden Vladimir Putin’s regime by supporting a cruel and unjust war and betray Ukraine.

It’s time to turn the war in Ukraine into a click, phase out fossil and nuclear energies. We must stop financing wars through instruments such as the European taxonomy while ensuring a green future for our children and grandchildren to live in peace. Things can literally kick off next week when French MEPs in the European Parliament exclude gas and nuclear energy from the taxonomy.

Also read – Environment, war in Ukraine… What are the consequences of the French EU presidency?

What is the probability that the text will be rejected?
I don’t know, but I hope it will. So far, the European Parliament has been very vocal in supporting Ukraine. In April in particular, an overwhelming majority of MPs voted in favor of a resolution calling for a total ban on Russia’s fossil fuels, such as uranium, used in nuclear energy. She also called for ties with Rosatom to be severed. A few days ago, Ukraine’s MPs approved candidate status: that would mean that the taxonomy would also apply to Ukraine.

If MEPs stay true to their pledges of support for Ukraine, they should prevent the European taxonomy from including gas and nuclear, as this represents a favorable arrangement for Vladimir Putin. He would therefore see increasing demand for the gas and the materials and services needed for nuclear power, which would help him have the resources to continue killing thousands of Ukrainians and destroying the country.

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