Posted on 13 October 2020
Fossil fuels have no place in the EU’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee.
They voted yesterday to exclude coal, oil, and gas from the EU’s EUR672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility - the biggest part of the recovery fund. By doing so, they sent a clear message on what a sustainable recovery looks like to the Economic Affairs and Budget Parliament Committees, which are jointly responsible for the Parliament’s overall position on the recovery fund and are preparing to vote on the file in the coming weeks.
The Environment Committee took other significant steps towards a greener future yesterday by backing the use of the EU taxonomy criteria* to support only activities considered 'sustainable' in the sectors the taxonomy covers, like renewable power, and to implement the EU’s commitment to ‘do no harm’ with its recovery fund. The Committee also wants the taxonomy to guide the 37% and 10% spending targets which it supported for climate and biodiversity respectively.
Environment Committee MEPs also voted to require high-carbon companies receiving support from the recovery fund to publish transition plans to align themselves with the Paris climate agreement.
The European Commission originally proposed a 25% spending target for climate only and in July, EU leaders pushed this up a small amount, to 30%. Despite a lot of talk about a “green” recovery, both institutions failed to exclude fossil fuels from recovery funding.
Sébastien Godinot, Economist at WWF European Policy Office said:
“We applaud Environment MEPs who have firmly rejected the greenwashing of Member States and the Commission. European citizens want a fair and green economic recovery, and fossil fuels simply have no place in it. MEPs in the Economic Affairs and Budget Committees must follow suit.”
The vote yesterday was an “opinion” by the Environment Committee, meaning it is primarily a signal of those MEPs’ positions. There was a final vote in the Committee on the full report today, which passed with a huge majority. The two lead Committees on the ‘Recovery and Resilience Facility’ - Economic Affairs and Budget - are due to vote on their reports in early November, followed by the Parliament’s plenary vote. At this point, the Environment committee will be able to re-table its own amendments if it feels it necessary.
Three-way ‘trilogue’ discussions between the Commission, Parliament and Council to finalise the recovery package and multi-year budget are due to begin shortly after the plenary vote.
*The EU taxonomy of sustainable investments is a groundbreaking classification system that will show if an economic activity is sustainable, thereby tackling the greenwashing of financial products. More.
Economist, WWF European Policy Office
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Media Manager, WWF European Policy Office
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