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EU countries ramp up pressure to grant nuclear a ‘green’ investment label

EU countries ramp up pressure to grant nuclear a ‘green’ investment label,  By Kira Taylor |, 29 Oct 21,

A group of ten European countries have heaped pressure on the European Commission to grant nuclear energy a ‘green’ label under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy, which acts as a guide to climate-friendly investments.

Energy ministers from the group of ten supported nuclear’s inclusion in the taxonomy during an extraordinary meeting of the EU’s Energy Council on Tuesday (26 October), convened hastily last week in response to rising energy prices.

A proposal from the European Commission is now expected “by the end of the year,” said Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy commissioner………

Earlier this month
, a group of ministers from ten EU countries signed a joint opinion article saying “nuclear power must be part of the solution” to the climate crisis and included in the taxonomy.

The article was signed by the economy and energy ministers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

At this week’s ministerial meeting, the Netherlands offered their support while Sweden also spoke favourably about nuclear………..

Anti-nuclear lobby

By far the smallest group of countries in this debate is those who have spoken out against the inclusion of nuclear energy in the taxonomy. Austria and Luxembourg are the most vocal countries here, with Denmark also cautioning against nuclear.

“We think that it would be wrong to raise nuclear energy as the alternative – it’s not cheap and it’s not secure. The prices for the production of nuclear energy are much higher than that for photovoltaic solar production,” said Gregor Schusterschitz from Austria.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg’s energy minister, Claude Turmes, highlighted the length of time it would take to build new nuclear power plants, saying these would not come online until around 2035, making them useless as a solution to this year’s energy crisis.

He added that “extending nuclear reactors beyond 40 years only represents 10 billion tonnes oil equivalent, so you can see it’s a highly risky, low impact strategy”.

“With taxonomy, I think we have to be extremely cautious. Because look at the financial markets, look at the investors, look at what’s happening already with manipulation,” he told ministers.

Germany – a long-standing opponent of nuclear power – was much more neutral at the meeting, perhaps owing to its yet-to-be-formed government.

“We need to decrease our energy dependency – people are seeing this as a reason for nuclear power. Obviously we can’t achieve consensus at an EU level on the role of nuclear power,” said Andreas Feicht, German energy and economy minister.

The environmental NGO WWF has also warned against including nuclear energy and fossil gas.

“Nothing would do more to undermine the European Green Deal than to include fossil gas and nuclear in the green taxonomy. At the time of the COP26 summit, institutionalised European greenwashing of this sort would send a totally counterproductive global signal,” said Henry Eviston, spokesperson on sustainable finance for WWF European Policy Office………

At some point, the Commission will have to side with either the pro- or anti-nuclear camp. Ministers at the meeting called on the European Commission to publish the delegated act as soon as possible and the executive is beginning to run out of road to kick the can down.

October 30, 2021 - Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international

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