EU delays deadline on green investment rules for nuclear and gas

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A general view of the nuclear power plant, whose last unit will be shut down at the turn of the year, in Gundremmingen, Germany, December 29, 2021. REUTERS/Lukas Barth/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Monday it has delayed to later this month the deadline for experts to give feedback on divisive plans to allow some natural gas and nuclear energy projects to be labelled as sustainable investments.

The Commission drafted a plan late last year to add some gas and nuclear investments to the European Union's "taxonomy," its rule book to define which investments can be labelled as climate-friendly in the EU.

Brussels said on Monday its expert advisers will have until Jan. 21 to provide feedback on the draft proposal, rather than until Jan. 12 as initially planned.

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"The deadline has been postponed by a week and the reason is basically to give a bit more time to the platform to provide its views," European Commission Chief Spokesperson Eric Mamer told a news briefing, referring to the "platform" of advisers from industry, NGOs and the finance sector.

The Commission shared the draft with its advisers late on New Year's Eve, setting a deadline that campaigners said was too short and limited scrutiny of the rules - suggestions rejected by the EU's executive. read more

The draft - which was leaked to some media organisations read more - has reignited disputes between EU countries, which disagree on whether gas and nuclear are green. Spain, Germany and Austria's governments are among those to publicly criticise the latest proposal.

Once the EU's advisers give their feedback, Brussels will publish its final proposal. A super-majority of EU countries or the European Parliament could block it in the four months that follow. If they do not, the rules would enter into force.

The long-awaited taxonomy is part of EU plans to mobilise massive low-carbon investments to meet its goal to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Using detailed criteria that each "green" investment must meet - such as emissions limits or energy efficiency - the taxonomy aims to make climate-friendly projects more visible and attractive to private capital, and stop organisations from overstating their environmental credentials.

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Reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels Editing by Matthew Lewis

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