By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS () – The European Commission came under new pressure on Monday from Poland’s largest power producer PGE and its own advisers on whether gas energy should be included in EU rules on sustainable financing.
The European Union’s sustainable financing taxonomy will define what economic activities can be described as “green” investments – a tool that Brussels hopes will encourage low-emission financing and rein in greenwashing.
The Commission had hoped to finalize the rules last month, but delayed them to become ril after a draft version triggered a strong lobbying effort by EU governments and companies seeking to label gas as green.
The draft rules would have labeled power plants sustainable if they complied with an emission limit of 100 g CO2 equivalent per tonne. Kilowatt hour – which excludes gas plants unless they use carbon-cture technology or switch to low-carbon fuels.
Power producer PGE on Monday called on Brussels to reconsider the rules.
“As a transition technology, gas must be considered environmentally sustainable or at least not seriously harmful,” it said in a statement.
PGE generates most of its energy from coal and plans to expand renewable energy and use gas-fired energy as a transitional fuel on its way to becoming climate neutral by 2050.
Separately, a group of Commission advisers on Monday sent a statement to EU leaders asking them not to bow to “pressure” to weaken the draft gas rules, which they said were based on climate science and in line with the EU’s goal of cut the planet -heating.
“Unreduced gas has no long-term future as an energy source in the EU and elsewhere, especially as methane leaks are much higher than previously thought,” said the statement, signed by representatives of six groups sitting on the Commission’s advisory panel – including the Climate Bonds Initiative, Climate-KIC and WWF – plus NGOs including Bellona.
Gas produces about half of the CO2 emissions of coal when burned in power plants, and far less air pollution. However, there is growing concern that associated leaks of methane from the gas infrastructure could remove any benefits.