Brussels maintains that gas and nuclear are ‘green’

The European Commission (EC) presented this Wednesday its final proposal for nuclear power and certain gas-fired power plants are considered “green” investmentsa controversial initiative that could be blocked by Member States or the European Parliament.

The Community Executive maintains that classification despite the rejection that sparked your initial draft among its expert advisers and in countries like Spain.

This is stated in the EC proposal on these two sources of energy generation known as taxonomy, a system that aims to distinguish sustainable technologies of those that are not to guide investments in the ecological transition.

The Commission has concluded that “there are a role for gas and nuclear investments in the energy transition” although only for a limited period of time and with conditions so that they contribute to the decarbonization of the economy in the middle of the century, indicated European sources.

Spain opposes

Spain is against classifying nuclear energy and gas as “green” as proposed by Europe. The environment minister, Teresa Ribera, has valued in a statement that the European measure “would be a step backwards”.

The Community Executive assumes that neither gas nor nuclear energy are climate-neutral energies, nor are they renewable, but it defends its role as “transition activities” to achieve the goal of a decarbonized economy in 2050, a concept included in the second paragraph of the project presented.

Brussels defends that the delegated act adopted by the College of Commissioners sets “strict conditions” for gas and nuclear energy, while foreseeing sanctions for companies that do not comply.

Ignore the experts

But nevertheless, ignores the recommendations of experts to reduce emission levels fixed at 270 grams of COtwo/kWh for gas plants up to 100 grams of COtwo/kWh.

“We need to move away from high-carbon energy sources like coal as quickly as possible. During this transition, this could mean accept imperfect solutions“said the Commissioner for Financial Services, Mairead McGuinnessat a press conference.

The Executive proposes that they be considered sustainable nuclear power plants with construction permit before 2045 and gas plants that emit less than 270 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour until 2031 or less than 100 grams throughout their useful life.

Brussels has included some minor “technical adjustments”, but has left the bulk of the proposal unchanged despite the fact that the platform of experts rejected in a report presented last week that nuclear energy and natural gas be considered green and they showed “deeply concerned” about the impact it may have on the environmenta concern shared by environmental organizations.

possible blockage

The controversial text, which has been under internal discussion for years within the community institutions, adopts the legal form of a “delegated act”, which means that it will become final if in four months, extendable to six, a blocking majority is not met.

This would require the opposition of 72% of the Member States in the Council (20 countries), which represent, in turn, at least the 65% of the population of the EU, or to be rejected by the half of the plenary session of the European Parliament (353 deputies).

Denmark, Spain, Austria and Luxembourg reject openly granting gas and nuclear the same “green” label as renewables, and the last two have threatened to bring the standard before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

France leads the block that advocates resorting to nuclear energywhich hardly generates carbon dioxide but entails other problems such as safety or radioactive waste, with the support of countries such as Czech Republic, Hungary or Finland.

Germany bets on gas to move towards a decarbonized economy in the middle of the century since it plans to close all its nuclear power plants this year.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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