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SuperNode Chairman to EU Commission: ‘You can’t mitigate climate change by burning fossil fuels’

Date

19 Jan 2022

Sections

Energy

The European Commission must not succeed in its attempt to label gas as a solution to address global warming, SuperNode Ltd chairman, Dr. Eddie O’Connor, said today.

In a leaked draft ‘delegated act’ sent to the EU Member States on the last day of 2021, the European Commission communicated its intention to enact EU-wide legislation establishing that fossil gas for electricity production is ‘contributing substantially to climate change mitigation’.

It should be obvious that you can’t mitigate climate change by burning fossil fuels. I am mystified by the European Commission’s attempt to label gas – a fossil fuel and one of the largest contributors to climate change – as a solution to global warming. Less than a year ago, the International Energy Agency warned that there can be no new investments in gas – starting now – if we are to meet the Paris climate objectives. Oddly, the European Commission’s signal to investors, and the public at large, seems to be the opposite – that Europe must keep burning fossil fuels to save the planet from heating up,” said SuperNode chairman, Dr. Eddie O’Connor.

Delegated Acts, such as the one sent to Member States on 31 December, allow the European Commission to supplement legislation with non-essential elements without having to follow the ordinary legislative procedure in the EU system. In the draft delegated act sent to Member States, the European Commission informs EU Member States about its intention to classify fossil gas for electricity production as sustainable, arguing that it is necessary because renewable energy technologies “are not yet commercially available at a sufficient scale.”

It is understandable that the Commission wants to close a discussion that has been running for three years now. However, arguing that gas must be acknowledged as a solution to climate change because renewables are not commercially available is just plain wrong. The global investments in wind and solar alone were more than five times investments in gas power plants in 2020,” Dr. O’Connor said.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), $359 billion was invested globally in renewables in 2020 compared to $113 billion in fossil fuel power generation, mainly in the form of coal and gas fired power plants. In 2021, Europe invested $75 billion in renewable power generation and $9 billion in gas fired power plants.

The European Commission’s delegated act is part of the development of an EU-wide classification system for sustainable investments, the EU Taxonomy, intended to direct investments towards sustainable projects and activities. According to the European Commission, the initiative ‘should create security for investors, protect private investors from greenwashing, help companies to become more climate-friendly, mitigate market fragmentation and help shift investments where they are most needed’.

The text of the leaked draft reveals the European Commission’s intention to adopt fossil gas for electricity as a ‘transitional’ technology. The Taxonomy legislation[i] that was adopted in June 2020, establishes (Article 10.2) that, for an economic activity to be ‘transitional’ it must meet three criteria: i) have greenhouse gas emissions that correspond with the best performance in the electricity sector; ii) must not hamper the development and deployment of low-carbon alternatives; and iii) must not lead to a lock-in of carbon-intensive assets

Gas does not meet any of the three criteria that must all apply for an activity to be considered ‘transitional’ in accordance with EU law. I urge Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States to veto the Commission’s delegated act to safeguard Europe’s green credentials,” said Dr. O’Connor.

An expert panel known as the Platform on Sustainable Finance, now has until January 21st to provide its feedback. A majority of 20 out of 27 EU Member States, representing at least 65% of the EU population, would be needed for the Council to block the European Commission’s proposal, which also labels nuclear energy as a sustainable investment. This must happen within four months. The European Parliament can also oppose it within the same timeframe by a simple majority.

[i] Regulation (EU) 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, 18 June 2020.

See leaked Draft Delegated Act here.

Contact:
Mr Christian Kjaer, Chief Public Affairs Officer
Tel: +45 9360 2023
Christian.Kjaer@SuperNode.energy

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