EU rulebook may need 'amber' label for not-fully green investments

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An aerial picture shows the four natural-gas power plants "Gersteinwerk" of Germany's RWE Power, one of Europe's biggest electricity and gas companies near the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Hamm, Germany May 6, 2015. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/

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  • EU classing of gas, nuclear as 'green' drew criticism
  • Adviser says 'amber' label to help with transition
  • Labelling part of bid to help bloc meet climate goals

BRUSSELS, March 15 (Reuters) - The European Union should add an "amber" category to its green investment rulebook to flag investments that are not fully environmentally friendly but play a role in the transition, EU advisers will propose, the chief adviser said on Tuesday.

The move follows criticism of a proposal by the EU executive to include gas and nuclear energy as 'green' investments in its sustainable finance taxonomy, which will list activities that will help meet Europe's climate goals.

The inclusion of gas and nuclear has split opinion in the European Parliament and among member states, and could yet be rejected. read more

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"The platform will shortly recommend an extended taxonomy framework which includes an amber category," Nathan Fabian, the chief adviser for the new system, told a meeting of the European Parliament's environment and economy committees.

Fabian said it would be a "better option to describe the multiple transitions on multiple environmental objectives for multiple economic sectors, which we must now embrace".

Gas is viewed by some EU countries as a transition fuel as it emits less carbon than oil or coal, although it still produces greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy is low-carbon but produces radioactive waste.

Fabian said the European Commission's proposal was flawed as it would allow facilities burning gas to secure a 'green' label while still producing relatively high emissions.

"There's no anti gas position here. We just don't think the criteria are good enough," he said.

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Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Simon Jessop and Edmund Blair

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