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The nuclear industry might get taxpayers money by calling itself ”amber”, if it’s too hard to appear ”green”

possible compromises included creating an “amber” label for activity that did not win the green label but would still secure a place in the bloc’s transition and not discourage private sector investment.  ………..

Brussels to delay decision on how to classify nuclear power for green finance. Debate over energy has been supercharged by surging electricity costs, Ft.com   Mehreen Khan and Sam Fleming in Brussels, 20 Oct 21

Brussels will delay long-awaited proposals on how to classify nuclear power and natural gas under the EU’s landmark labelling system for green finance, as member states demand looser rules to help counteract the continent’s energy crisis. EU financial services commissioner Mairead McGuinness told the Financial Times that Brussels would take more time before deciding how to deal with the controversial energy sources under the so-called “taxonomy on sustainable finance” that had been due this autumn.  

The debate about how to classify low carbon natural gas and nuclear energy, which produces no CO2 [ ed.except in its long complex fuel and waste chains] but whose waste byproducts are toxic for the environment, has been supercharged by surging electricity costs that have prompted EU governments into emergency financial action to protect households. European leaders are due to debate the taxonomy and how to mitigate soaring prices at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. 

“As we come to the end of the year there will be more pressure to resolve this,” said McGuinness. “We don’t have a ready-made solution because this is, both technically but politically . . . one of those issues where you have very divided views.” Europe’s pro-nuclear countries, led by France, and pro-gas member states in the south and east, are demanding the taxonomy rules do not penalise technologies they say are vital in securing the transition to net zero emissions. Environmental groups, however, want the system to abide by scientific criteria to ensure the rules stamp out, rather than encourage, so-called “greenwashing” in the investment industry. ………..

Europe’s energy crisis is the latest challenge to the credibility of the EU’s green labelling system which was designed to be a “gold standard” for investors to know what counts as truly sustainable economic activity. But the rules have been mired in controversy as Brussels struggles to balance science with sensitive political decisions about whether to award some activities the highest green label — penalising those that do not. Ten countries, including France, Finland, Poland and Hungary this week said it is “absolutely necessary that nuclear power was included in the taxonomy framework”.  

McGuinness said it remained an “open question” as to whether the green label would be expanded to “accommodate nuclear and gas”. She said possible compromises included creating an “amber” label for activity that did not win the green label but would still secure a place in the bloc’s transition and not discourage private sector investment.  ………..

The rules are being closely watched by investors and regulators in the US and UK, who have also said they will come up with their own classification systems. Within the EU, the taxonomy will be used to judge whether investments made by member states are truly green and will form the basis for an EU “green bond standard” that will be used to issue €250bn in sustainable debt under the bloc’s recovery fund.  https://www.ft.com/content/898e6c53-8e85-4cfc-b00b-16a09d50b462

October 21, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, climate change, EUROPE, politics international

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