Tricastin nuclear power plant, Bollène, France
Members of the European Union (EU) on Wednesday endorsed the classification of gas and nuclear as “green” energy sources, recognizing them as necessary in the fight against climate change.
A controversial document presented in January by the European Commission proposed a classification system to define what counts as an investment in sustainable energy, such as the production of electricity in nuclear power plants – which does not #x27;emit no CO2 – or gas-fired power plants.
However, the latter must mobilize the most advanced technologies, which would make it possible to close more polluting coal-fired power stations.
The adoption of this classification allows the mobilization of private funds in these projects, hitherto reserved for renewable energies. It is part of the EU's carbon neutrality target set for 2050.
Meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg on Wednesday, MEPs adopted the text, rejecting a veto proposal with a majority of 328 votes. The objection received 278 votes. An absolute majority of 353 votes was required to block the Commission's text.
With the green light from the Member States already granted, the opponents of the project have already announced that they would initiate legal proceedings, the only means now available to block the initiative.
I ask you not to reject this fragile compromise negotiated with care, however asked Wednesday morning the Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose country has just taken over from France the rotating presidency of the EU.
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“Nuclear power and gas from safe countries will be the only way for some member states to reach our common climate goals in the years to come .
— Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
The recognition of the contribution of gas and nuclear to the fight against climate change, based on the basis of expert reports, has aroused the ire of environmental organizations which denounce an ecological charade (“greenwashing“).
During the first rallies of opponents of the project which took place on Tuesday, the member of the green left, the Dutchman Bas Eickhout, then asked: how can we ask other countries to reduce their use of fossil fuels if we classify them as green?
On Wednesday morning, a few dozen “pro” and “anti” nuclear activists demonstrated face to face to challenge MPs on their arrival in Parliament European.
The members voted on Wednesday on an objection proposal, previously adopted on June 14 by the Economic Affairs and Environment parliamentary committees, synonymous with a veto against the text of the European executive.
No one is saying that gas and nuclear are green energies, but they are temporarily essential for the transition. We must use all the tools to do without oil and coal as a priority, French MP Gilles Boyer underlined at the time.
Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, who came to defend her text in Strasbourg, argued that the new EU taxonomy gives priority to renewables and energy efficiency.
The EU executive concedes that renewable energies alone will not be able to meet the growing demand for electricity due to their intermittent production.
Hence the need, at least on a transitional basis, to also promote investment in stable and controllable means such as gas and nuclear power.
Only eight countries, including Germany, Austria and Luxembourg, had expressed their opposition to the green classification given to gas and nuclear during consultations led by the Presidency member of the Council of the EU, far from the super-majority of 20 countries needed to block the project.
France, which wants to relaunch its nuclear industry, and countries from central Europe like Poland, which need to replace their coal-fired power stations, are behind the Commission.