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EU taxonomy: EU Commission wants to classify nuclear power and natural gas as sustainable

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced a proposal for the planned EU taxonomy for climate-friendly investments. In a speech at the European Council recently, she said that in addition to renewable energies such as wind and sun, it would also take nuclear power and natural gas into account.

The taxonomy is intended to show investors in the EU clear criteria as to which financial products are useful for climate protection. The EU Commission presented a package in April 2021 that should regulate the details. The Commission ignored the question of whether investments in natural gas and nuclear projects can also be sustainable.

Von der Leyen now said (PDF) that the production costs for solar and wind energy have declined over the past ten years. The two renewable energies are also the right way to go because they are carbon-free and are extracted locally. However, stable energy sources would also be needed, nuclear energy and – during a transitional period – also “natural gas”.

The Group of the Greens in the European Parliament see this as a fatal course of action, the deputy Sven Giegold designated the announcement of the EU Commission as a “worst case scenario for Europe’s energy transition”. That is why his group has started a petition aimed at preventing the Commission from pursuing its plan.

At the EU summit, the German government gave up its resistance to the greenwashing of nuclear power, as Giegold calls it. This could quickly create facts for gas and nuclear power in the EU taxonomy before a new federal government could stop these plans.

In March of this year, seven EU member states applied to von der Leyen to promote nuclear power. Including France, whose President Emmanuel Macron recently also issued “mini-nuclear power plants” as part of the strategy to make his country climate neutral.


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