European Union plans to label nuclear and gas investments as green

The European Union has drawn up plans to label some natural gas and nuclear power projects as “green” investments after a year-long battle between governments over which investments are truly climate-friendly.

The European Commission is expected to propose rules in January to decide whether nuclear and gas projects will be included in the EU’s “sustainable finance taxonomy.”

This is a list of economic activities and the environmental criteria that must be met to be labeled as green investments.

By restricting the “green” label to truly climate-friendly projects, the system aims to make those investments more attractive to private equity and stop “greenwashing,” where companies or investors exaggerate their green credentials.

The EU analyzes the possibility that nuclear and gas investments are considered as green.

Brussels It has also taken steps to apply the system to some EU funds, which means that the rules could decide which projects are eligible for certain public funds.

A draft of the Commission’s proposal, seen by Reuters, would label investments in nuclear power plants as green if the project has a plan, funds and a site to safely dispose of radioactive waste.

To be considered green, new nuclear plants must receive construction permits before 2045.

Investments in natural gas power plants would also be considered green if they produce emissions below 270g CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour (kWh), replace a more polluting fossil fuel plant, receive a building permit before December 31st 2030 and we plan to switch to low-carbon gases by the end of 2035.

Gas and nuclear power generation would be labeled green because they are “transitional” activities, defined as those that are not fully sustainable, but have emissions below the industry average and do not contain polluting assets.

“Taking into account current scientific advice and technological progress, as well as the different transition challenges between member states, the Commission considers that natural gas and nuclear energy have a role as a means of facilitating the transition to a predominantly based future. in renewables, “the commission said in a statement.

To help states with different energy backgrounds make the transition, “under certain conditions, solutions may make sense that they don’t look exactly ‘green’ at first glance,” a Commission source told Reuters, adding that the investments in gas and nuclear they would face “strict conditions”.

European Union analyzes proposal

The countries of the European Union and a panel of experts will analyze the draft of the proposal, which could change before it is published at the end of January. Once published, it could be vetoed by most EU countries or the European Parliament.

The policy has been embroiled in government lobbying for more than a year and EU countries disagree on which fuels are truly sustainable.

Natural gas emits about half of the CO2 emissions of coal when burned in power plants, but gas infrastructure is also associated with leaks of methane, a powerful gas that warms the planet.

EU advisers had recommended that gas plants not be labeled as green investments unless they meet a lower emissions limit of 100g CO2e / kWh, based on the deep emissions cuts that scientists say are necessary to avoid disastrous climate change.

Nuclear power produces very low CO2 emissions, but the Commission sought expert advice this year on whether the fuel should be considered green given the potential environmental impact of radioactive waste disposal.

Some environmental activists and Green EU lawmakers criticized the leaked proposal on gas and nuclear power.

“By including them … the Commission risks jeopardizing the credibility of the EU’s role as a leading market for sustainable finance,” said the President of the Greens, Philippe Lamberts.

Austria opposes nuclear power, along with countries like Germany Y Luxembourg. EU states, including the Czech Republic, Finland Y France, Getting around 70% of their energy from fuel, they consider nuclear power to be crucial to phase out energy from CO2-emitting coal fuel.

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