In what is being criticized as a controversial move by climate change activists, the European Union has announced a draft proposal to label nuclear power and natural gas as “green” investments which can help prevent 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,” the European Commission announced in 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 draft proposal is an attempt by the European Union to find a balance between pro-nuclear countries — led by the continent’s largest producer of nuclear power, France — and opposing countries like 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,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People. “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,” Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner in charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability, and Capital Markets Union said. “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,” The New York Times explained. “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,” The New York Times added.
“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,” Reuters reported. “Austria and Luxembourg have threatened legal action if the EU brands nuclear as sustainable.”
“Nuclear power is neither ‘green’ nor sustainable,” Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer tweeted on 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.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.