In a move that climate change activists are slamming as extremely controversial, officials with the European Union have put forth a draft proposal that seeks to label natural gas and nuclear power as “green” investments which can be used to help mitigate impactful emissions.
“Taking account of scientific advice and current technological progress, the Commission considers that there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the transition,” stated the European Commission as part of an announcement made during a press release. “The gas and nuclear activities selected are in line with the EU’s climate and environmental objectives and will allow us to accelerate the shift from more polluting activities, such as coal generation, towards a climate-neutral future, mostly based on renewable energy sources.”
This newly released draft proposal is supposedly an attempt by the European Union to strike a balance between its pro-nuclear countries, which are led by France as the continent’s largest producer of nuclear power, and various countries standing opposed to it such as Germany.
“Our mission and obligation is climate neutrality. We need to act now if we are to meet our 2030 and 2050 targets. Today’s Delegated Act is about accompanying the EU economy in the energy transition, a just transition, as a bridge towards a green energy system based on renewable energy sources,” stated the Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis. “It will accelerate the private investment we need, especially in this decade. With today’s new rules, we are also strengthening transparency and disclosures of information, so that investors make informed decisions, thereby avoiding any greenwashing.”
“The EU is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and we need to use all the tools at our disposal to get there. Stepping up private investment in the transition is key to reaching our climate goals,” continued the Commissioner in charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability, and Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness. “Today we are setting out strict conditions to help mobilize finance to support this transition, away from more harmful energy sources like coal. And we are boosting market transparency so that investors will be able to easily identify gas and nuclear activities in any investment decisions.”
“The proposal would deem natural gas and nuclear power as ‘transitional’ green energy sources to be used to bridge countries’ moves away from coal and carbon-emitting power toward clean energy technologies like wind and solar,” reported The New York Times. “Nuclear power would be considered a sustainable investment if countries can safely dispose of radioactive waste — one of the biggest concerns for the German-led bloc. New plants would be considered sustainable investments through 2045 and would have to undergo safety upgrades during their lifetime to ensure ‘the highest achievable safety standards,’ according to the draft.”
“Natural gas plants would be deemed ‘transitional’ green energy sources for investment purposes if they meet certain emissions criteria and replace more polluting fossil fuel plants,” continued The New York Times.
“Four countries wrote to the Commission on Monday urging it to exclude gas, citing a ‘lack of scientific evidence’ for labeling the fuel as green,” reported Reuters. “Austria and Luxembourg have threatened legal action if the EU brands nuclear as sustainable.”
“Nuclear power is neither ‘green’ nor sustainable,” tweeted out Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer this past Wednesday. “I cannot understand the decision of the EU. Environment Minister [Leonore Gewessler] has my full support in considering legal action. One thing is clear: Austria continues to focus on the expansion of renewable energy sources.”