The result of the current political debate on the EU Taxonomy Complementary Delegated Act will significantly shape the European energy sector for the most important part of the following decades. A comprehensive taxonomy, harnessing all our internal strengths, including the century-old tradition of excellence of the natural gas industry, will help the EU stay on top of the global competition. At the same time, the EU will be able to offer a robust response to the energy security concerns emerging from the current geopolitical context. Failure to act now will jeopardize the EU’s energy security, harm our economy and shatter the credibility of our long-term decarbonization trajectory.
There are three main challenges ahead of us: an acute short-term energy security crisis that risks crippling our economy, a medium-term technological challenge with our industry facing harsh competition in the global arena, and an overarching climate change threat building up as we speak. The EU needs a solid EU taxonomy framework that allows the European natural gas industry to contribute effectively to building a carbon-free, resilient economy. This is a fact that we need to fully recognize.
If we are to succeed in convincing the European citizens that we take the decarbonization commitment seriously, our efforts must be decisive and credible when aiming at the long-term, 2050 net-zero target. To be efficient however, our approach needs to strike the right balance between the most (cost-) effective transitional strategies. Putting to good use our indigenous natural gas resources in Europe is one of the most practical approaches we can deploy at this time. The deep-water natural gas reservoirs in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean or the North Sea are part of the solution but bringing the gas to surface requires investor’s confidence and a steady, business-oriented public policy direction.
The taxonomy’s inclusive approach toward natural gas sends the right market signal and will contribute to successfully alleviate the impact of the current energy crisis, by increasing Europe’s collective energy security while ensuring economic stability.
This is especially relevant for the protection of EU regions most affected by the current energy crisis and will contribute to the medium- and long-term stability, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe. New natural gas resources will reach the market either from the Black Sea, or from the EU’s trusted partners. We will help advance the REPowerEU strategy by pushing for, among others, significant investments in additional liquefied natural gas, or LNG, infrastructure that will help meet the short-term European demand and will help fill in our strategic gas storages.
Europe needs to be able to confront the significant socio-economical changes generated by a carbon-free pathway when prominent energy security uncertainties persist. Employing the entire technological prowess of the EU energy ecosystem, including top-of-the line technical expertise in the natural gas sector, and directing it towards an equitable but comprehensive energy transformation will ensure just that. Natural gas, as the key transitional fuel, delivers a soft landing towards the 2050 net-zero economy, playing a crucial role in the effective departure from fossil fuels and the mass deployment of renewable energy, electromobility or a fully decarbonized transport system.
EU should stand united in front of today’s insecurities and the decarbonization commitment must not deepen our dependence on non-EU energy resources.
The policy debate around the taxonomy exercise poses the risk to create a significant but entirely artificial division line among the decarbonization advocates. The current policy debate is far too important to be taken hostage in short-sighted disputes, no matter how justified the arguments involved are, in any larger scheme of things. If we allow this to happen, no one stands to benefit, not our industry, neither our citizens.