A group of climate heavy hitters have launched legal action to stop the European Union from including fossil gas in its sustainable finance rulebook.
“Labelling gas as ‘sustainable’ risks channelling investments into this harmful energy source, away from genuinely sustainable sources of energy like homegrown renewables—and skillfully reducing demand in the first place,” said Client Earth in a recent release, announcing its legal challenge alongside the WWF’s European Policy Office, Transport & Environment (T&E), and BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany).
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The groups aim to boot fossil gas—a more accurate term for what is also known as natural gas—off the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy, which was created to “provide companies, investors, and policy-makers with appropriate definitions for which economic activities can be considered ‘green’ in financial disclosures and reporting,” Client Earth said. That clarity is increasingly sought by investors and anyone seeking to ensure that climate-friendly projects are the ones funded, the release added.
The EU should not be labelling gas as sustainable, Client Earth said, due to the socio-economic perils of depending on the notoriously volatile fossils market, the geopolitical dangers of Russia’s war on Ukraine, and gas’ detrimental impacts on the environment from vast amounts of carbon and methane emissions.
Client Earth will be asking the EU Commission to repeal the taxonomy’s Complementary Delegated Act (CDA), which gives gas a ‘sustainable’ label.
“We argue the CDA clashes with other EU laws, in particular the Taxonomy Regulation itself and the European Climate Law,” Client Earth says. “It also does not respect the EU’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.”
The Commission has been given 22 weeks to reply. “If the Commission refuses, the organizations will be able to ask the Court of Justice of the EU to rule,” says Client Earth.