The EU strongly opposes plans to mark nuclear energy and natural gas as “green”

Wind turbines and cooling towers at the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power plant in France, April 12, 2021.

Jean-Marie Hossart | Gamma-Rapho | Getty Images

The EU has aroused strong opposition to the plan to label nuclear energy and natural gas as “green” investments. Germany described the proposal as “greenwashing” and Austria again threatened to sue the European Commission.

The commission, the European Union’s executive body, is accused of trying to minimize scrutiny by submitting its long-delayed “Sustainable Finance Taxonomy” rules to member states at 10 o’clock on New Year’s Eve.

An official panel of experts must now formally respond to the EU’s draft proposal by January 12, and the Commission hopes that it can adopt the final text by the end of this month.

According to a copy of the draft obtained by the EU, the EU’s proposal politics, Said “It is necessary to recognize that the fossil natural gas and nuclear energy sectors can contribute to the decarbonization of the EU economy.”

European Union Said in a statement on January 1 It sees the role of natural gas and nuclear energy as “a means to facilitate the transition to a future based mainly on renewable energy.”

After months of debate and political lobbying, the committee promoted the labeling of nuclear energy and natural gas as green investments. Germany and other EU member states believe that natural gas can be used as a “bridge” fuel to help them get rid of investment in heavily polluting alternatives such as coal.

Environmental groups and activists say that the recognition of natural gas as a fossil fuel is green, will postpone much-needed climate action and weaken the EU’s credibility as a global leader in response to climate emergencies.

In terms of emission-free nuclear energy, nuclear-prone countries such as France, the Czech Republic and Hungary are all advocating its inclusion in the EU classification list. However, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg are all critical of the plan, citing concerns about costs and radioactive waste.

On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, the pipeline project at the natural gas condensate storage and distribution site in Gripskerk, the Netherlands.

Peter Ball | Bloomberg | Getty Images

According to reports, as part of the so-called “traffic light” coalition formed by the Social Democrats, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, Germany’s Robert Harbeck became the country’s minister of economic and climate action last month. He said that the EU’s plan “weakened” A good label for sustainable development”. “

Harbek, the co-leader of the German Green Party, told the news agency dpa, “It is questionable whether this green washing behavior will be accepted in the financial market.”

At the same time, Austrian Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler said that if the committee’s plan is implemented, the government will prepare to prosecute.

Gewessler stated on Twitter on January 1 that neither nuclear power nor natural gas has any place in the EU’s classification list, “because they are harmful to the climate and the environment, and will destroy our children’s future.”

What is the EU’s classification list?

The EU’s classification list is a green classification system that helps investors invest billions of euros in projects deemed to meet the EU’s economic decarbonization goals.

“The bill goes against the goals set in the EU Green Agreement,” said Paul Bell, the senior communications director of the Brussels-based sports organization Transport and Environment. Say on Monday.

“With trillions of euros authorized to fund natural gas and bioenergy, we can say goodbye to the European Union’s green finance agenda and the European Union’s sustainable future. Parliament and the Council must act now to prevent this,” Bell said.

Claude Turmes, a member of the Green Party and Luxembourg’s Minister of Energy, described the EU’s proposal as a “provocation” with a risk of green drift.

Does the European Commission “want to seriously inspire citizens to use nuclear energy and natural gas to do more climate protection in the new year?” Tourmes said via Twitter on Saturday.

In addition to talking with colleagues in Austria and Germany, Turmes also stated that he will discuss the next steps with Luxembourg’s Minister of Environment, Carole Dieschbourg. The latter had previously described nuclear technology as “too slow, too expensive, and too risky.”