’Weakening us! EU blasted for crippling nuclear industry and leaving bloc dependent

EU face backlash over labelling 'green energy sources'

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The Commission’s decision to include gas and nuclear investments in the EU’s “sustainable finance taxonomy” rules was circulated in a draft proposal late on December 31. Reacting to the news from France, Francois-Xavier Bellamy said: “Not investing in the future of our nuclear industry means becoming dependent on gas that we have to import, weakening our industry, our social model and our environment.

“France has lost ten years, and European taxonomy still has cause for concern.”

He labelled the EU’s proposals as “insufficient”, telling French radio show: “It’s a decision that is still insufficient, but it’s a step in the right direction and one that we’ve been waiting for for a long time.

“It’s not a revolution, it’s just obvious.

 

“If we are talking about a climate emergency, if we consider that the most important thing is to reduce our carbon emissions, then we cannot deprive ourselves of what produces decarbonised energy, when we also know that we will need more and more electricity in the future.

“We need long-term decisions.

“I believe we must say that nuclear power is a strategic energy.”

During months of heated debate on the proposals, some EU countries said gas investments were needed to help them quit more-polluting coal.

While others said labelling a fossil fuel as green would undermine the credibility of the rules and of the EU as it seeks to be a global leader in tackling climate change.

Nuclear energy is similarly divisive.

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France, which gets around 70 percent of its power from the fuel, the Czech Republic and Poland are among those saying no CO2 emissions from nuclear power means it has a big role in curbing global warming.

Austria, Germany and Luxembourg are among those opposed, citing concerns around radioactive waste.

The Commission argues the inclusion of both gas and nuclear in its taxonomy, meant to guide investment in energy projects, is just to facilitate a transition to fully renewable energy production.

The Commission draft sets conditions under which gas and nuclear can be used in the transition period.

The Commission will now collect comments to its draft until January 12 and hopes to adopt a final text by the end of the month.

After that, the text can be discussed with EU governments and parliament for up to six months. But it is unlikely to be rejected because that would require 20 of the 27 EU countries, representing 65 percent of EU citizens, to say “no”.

The aim of the agreement is to send a signal to private investors as to what the EU considers acceptably “green” and stop greenwashing, whereby companies or investors overstate their eco-friendly credentials.

The deal will also set limits on what EU governments can spend cash from the EU recovery fund.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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