European crises and policy give natural gas staying power
European climate policy moves and the Ukraine crisis together show why environmentalist campaigns against natural gas face headwinds on both sides of the Atlantic.
Driving the news: The European Commission on Wednesday included certain forms of gas and nuclear power in the "taxonomy for sustainable activities" meant to guide private investment.
- It says gas-fired power qualifies as sustainable if plant emissions are below certain thresholds and that it should displace coal.
What's next: It drew criticism from some activists and European states. But killing it requires a majority of European Parliament members or over 70% of European Council states, and reports in the BBC, the FT and elsewhere call that unlikely.
What they're saying: "It makes a mockery of the EU’s claims to global leadership on climate and the environment," Greenpeace EU's Ariadna Rodrigo said in a statement.
- But Mairead McGuinness, the EU's financial services commissioner, said the bloc must "use all the tools at our disposal" to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The big picture: The battle comes as the Biden administration is aiming to bolster liquefied natural gas supplies to Europe from other countries — and highlighting U.S. exports — to check Russian energy influence.
Quick take: Responses to Russia's potential moves against Ukraine are underscoring LNG's geopolitical importance to the U.S.
- That's why, contra the aims of some U.S. green groups, Biden officials are unlikely to curtail growing LNG exports and infrastructure that has made the U.S. the world's largest supplier.