Gas industry storms into EU green finance taxonomy debate

(EurActiv, 16 Oct 2019) Industry executives argue fossil gas should be considered green when it displaces coal in power generation, sparking fresh controversy around an upcoming EU sustainable finance taxonomy aimed at rewarding investments in clean technologies.

Two weeks ago, the EU’s 28 national representatives voted to reinstate nuclear power as a clean source of energy under a proposed green finance classification scheme currently under discussion at EU level.

The vote caused consternation in Austria, Germany, and Luxembourg, which had earlier issued a joint statement to oppose the inclusion of nuclear in the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy.

Now, gas industry executives are also lining up to claim their place in the sun.

The EU’s green finance taxonomy “suffers from teething problems which urgently need to be corrected,” says Didier Holleaux, executive vice-president in charge of gas at ENGIE, the French energy company.

“The most illustrative example is coal-fired power plants,” Holleaux said, making the point that converting those plants to natural gas today can considerably reduce their carbon footprint in the short term, even though other technologies will be needed in the future to bring emissions down to zero.

“I’m not saying that natural gas is green,” Holleaux said. “But I do hold the view that replacing an old very polluting installation with a new natural gas one is green. And I think replacing a diesel truck with an LNG truck is green,” he told EURACTIV.

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EurActiv, 16 Oct 2019: Gas industry storms into EU green finance taxonomy debate