Electric vehicle infrastructure is vital for transition says expert

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Members of the European Parliament’s industry committee voted on Tuesday to allow the EU to continue supporting polluting pipelines. They want to support the industry for another six years, as long as natural gas is mixed with an unspecified amount of hydrogen. The decision has been slammed by campaigners who say it would be a disaster for the climate if it becomes law.

The committee also voted to allow natural gas projects, such as pipelines and storage facilities, to be eligible for special status that will speed up their approval..

The campaign group Global Witness estimates that about 70 gas projects could be eligible, producing 213 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

The two amendments to the EU’s trans-European energy infrastructure regulation were approved by MEP just three months after the European Commission said the world was entering “a make or break decade” to tackle the climate crisis.

It comes after the International Energy Agency (IEA) called on rich countries to decarbonise electricity generation by 2035.

They also called for an immediate stop to the approval of new oil and gas fields.

Tara Connolly, a senior campaigner at Global Witness, told the Guardian: “Today’s vote would be a disaster for the climate if it ends up being reflected in the final law.

“The science is clear – we need to urgently phase out fossil gas to prevent the worst effects of climate breakdown.

“EU member states must not fall for this giveaway to the fossil fuel industry, and close the loopholes which would allow fossil gas subsidies when negotiations start.”

The amendments were drafted by Zdzisław Krasnodębski, a member of Poland’s Law and Justice party, who is vice-chair of the parliament’s industry committee.

He said: “The objective of this revision is to align the Ten-E regulation with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

“We should also bear in mind, however, that energy union priorities remain valid and should still be reflected in the rules governing the support for important energy infrastructure projects.”

There is an ongoing review of the regulation on Trans-European Energy Network (Ten-E) – the EU’s energy infrastructure policy to allow it to meet its climate goals.

The European Green Deal aims to transform the 27-country bloc from a high- to a low-carbon economy, without reducing prosperity and while improving people’s quality of life, through cleaner air and water, better health and a thriving natural world.

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European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, called it “Europe’s man on the Moon moment”.

Brussels has a framework of regulation and legislation to reach clear overarching targets – a bloc-wide goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and a 50 percent to 55 percent cut in emissions by 2030.

This was supposed to include incentives to encourage private sector investment, with action plans for key sectors and goals such as halting species loss, cutting waste and better use of natural resources.

The EU will now enter negotiations with EU energy ministers on the new policy.

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