'India can become climate leader by excluding gas, nuclear from green taxonomy'

New Delhi, Jul 7 (IANS): India has an opportunity to establish itself as a climate leader by excluding gas and nuclear as part of its green taxonomy on the lines of the Europe, experts said on Thursday.

Their reaction came a day later after the European Parliament after months of intense debate came out in favour of labelling investments in gas and nuclear power plants as climate-friendly.

Out of 639 lawmakers, 328 opposed a motion that sought to block the EU gas and nuclear proposals.

The European Commission's proposal to include gas in what was to be the "gold standard" of sustainable finance has been widely criticised by scientists, experts and academia, civil society and EU policy-makers, as well as voices from Ukraine.

Strong opposition to the proposal came from members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from almost all political groups, who came together to vote to veto the European Commission's proposal.

Lawmakers and member states are already preparing to continue their opposition. A group of MEPs is readying to continue the fight against the inclusion of gas in the EU taxonomy in court, on the grounds that the decision "is against primary legislation".

Austria and Luxembourg have also previously announced their intention to take the decision to court. Civil society is also moving in this direction, with Greenpeace announcing a legal challenge, Client Earth exploring legal pathways and WWF looking into different types of action.

Responding to the EU lawmakers backing gas and nuclear energy as sustainable, Vibhuti Garg, Energy Economist and India Lead, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), told IANS: "India has an opportunity to establish itself as a climate leader by excluding gas and nuclear as part of its green taxonomy.

"The green taxonomy won't prevent investment in gas if the projects themselves can establish their commercial viability but classifying them as green is not the right approach. Taxonomy should be robust and promote cleaner technologies.

"There should be clarity to investors and developers what would be classified as green and there shouldn't be any dilution. India should be on the right side of climate change and lead other countries to invest in the right direction."

Dhruba Purkayastha, Director, Climate Policy Initiative, said: "Getting gas included in sustainable finance with the caveat of shifting away from gas in the long term is in alignment with meeting the UN's 'sustainability' definition.

"However, gas cannot be justified for climate finance as it isn't climate-friendly or green and may not help the EU in attaining its legal obligations to reduce GHG emission by 55 per cent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels."

Critics are calling the EU decision "greenwashing" and say it could threaten the bloc's bid to become climate-neutral by 2050.



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