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By 21st April, will the European Commission be sucked in by a shonky anonymous report that pretends that nuclear power is ”green”?

Ouest France 2nd April 2021,

Luxembourg’s Energy Minister, Claude Turmes, does not like the turn taken by the European Commission’s future tool to direct investments towards the low-carbon transition, called “taxonomy”. States, including France and Hungary, are campaigning to include nuclear and gas. At the expense of the climate emergency.

Europe will be the first carbon neutral continent in 2050, announced in December Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. To achieve this, its Green Pact notably includes taxonomy, which must direct investments. Claude Turmes, Minister of Energy of Luxembourg and former MEP for the Greens, is worried about the turn of the future tool.

The European Commission will soon say what is and what is not “a green investment”. What does this green taxonomy represent?

Money is the crux of the matter, even for climate change. It is important, alongside regulatory laws that governments or Europe can make, to direct billions of euros of investment towards appropriate infrastructure for the environment.

This work was well underway. The Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) in March 2020 produced a report, widely accepted by the financial world, to which this taxonomy is first addressed.

Of course, financiers do not form a homogeneous whole, but the major central banks, especially since Christine Lagarde took over the reins of the European Central Bank, now know everything about carbon risk.

Since then, a report has been published in favor of nuclear power, which Luxembourg rejects. How do you react ?

I’m not surprised. The JCR (Joint Research Center), commissioned for this report, was created by Euratom and 25% of its activities are nuclear. But it is extraordinary to have withdrawn the evaluation of this dossier from a group that had worked transparently to hand it over to another, pro-nuclear and which the authors do not agree to sign. What regime are we in, to publish an anonymous report?

Nuclear power [purports to be] is low-carbon energy, with many jobs, which France defends …

Yes, Emmanuel Macron signed a letter with Hungarian Orban or Kazcynski’s Poland for the European executive… I will leave aside the issue of human rights and the questionable attachment of these countries to the EU. The fact remains that the French government is making an alliance with pro-gas, pro-fossils, for the cause of nuclear power. There are no longer any limits to the French obsession with nuclear power which, economically, is dead.

Off-shore wind power is half the cost, takes half the time and is creating as many jobs, without risk for the population. By persisting, France is missing out on a market of the future. With the Benelux, Germany and Denmark, we have agreed on a target of 350 GW (the French nuclear fleet: 60 GW) in the North Sea and the Baltic. And the United States is coming.

How can we get along between European neighbors, some of whom are pro and others anti-nuclear?

From my window, I can see the Cattenom power station (in Thionville, in Moselle). Building nuclear reactors at the borders, I don’t call it good neighborliness. We have known from Prime Minister Tony Blair’s 2003 White Paper affair that the British military sector lobbied to save nuclear (in 2007) and submarine engines. This link between civilian and military nuclear power, no politician will ever say it in France.

This atomic energy is like a huge corpse hidden in a family house. Unlike Germany, France has not yet dismantled a large power plant and has not provided enough money to do so, this was the subject of Barbara Pompili’s report in 2018 (when she was deputy). When this is done, the real cost will be apparent. For now, we bury it and it’s the big headlong rush.

Gas could also be classified as green under certain conditions …

When you know the climate emergency, it is sad to see the taxonomy, which can make the EU a world leader on climate, destroyed by lobbying work. The beauty of taxonomy is its clarity that we risk losing by including conditions, like some plants, but not others. The financial world and the citizens who want to invest their money in green funds need clarity

All this lobbying is a diversion. But we don’t have time anymore. We must move quickly on renewable energies, energy security, infrastructure and electric public transport, and green the cities against the heat waves that are coming. Money invested elsewhere is a problem.

The Commission is due to return its copy on April 21. Do anti-nuclear European countries like Luxembourg plan to react?

We see that the Foratom lobby and the French government are already claiming victory. We hope that the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has understood that this will seriously “froth”, that she is risking a lot, by accepting nuclear power. We’re getting organized, we won’t give up.

April 5, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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