On Wednesday 2 February, the EU Commission proposed to declare nuclear power and fossil natural gas as "sustainable investments". This will not only call European climate neutrality into question, it will also increase our dependency on the import of fossil fuel including from dubious regimes like Russia.
By trying to put a green label on an outdated fossil fuel like gas and on problematic and expensive nuclear energy, the European Commission is delaying our European energy transition. Our best guarantee for secure, sustainable and affordable energy is scaling up investments in renewables. We can’t afford to lose time and confuse investors by polluting the EU rules on sustainable investments with fossil gas and nuclear power. Stop the greenwashing of fossil fuels and nuclear power!
Four arguments why we have to stop this taxonomy proposal (click to expand)
Nuclear energy is not without risks, as accidents with huge consequences in Fukushima and Chernobyl show. Nuclear waste is dangerous for generations to come. Uranium mining and milling, and the storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel do not respect the taxonomy law requirement to prevent significant harm to any environmental objective. As this study proves, there is no legal base for including nuclear energy in the EU taxonomy.
Investments in nuclear energy would come at the expense of investments in energy efficiency measures and the deployment of renewable energy such as wind and solar which lead to much faster greenhouse gas reductions. Even the financial label of the pro-nuclear French government itself, does not consider nuclear energy a sustainable investment.
New investments in fossil activities such as gas-fired power plants are incompatible with the goal to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 as the UNEP and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have recently confirmed. The IEA says that we have to stop fossil investments from the year 2022 onwards to keep in line with the 1,5 degree temperature goal.
It is inconsistent to incentivise private gas investments when at the same time the EU rightly called for the ending of fossil subsidies at the COP26.
By investing in gas and nuclear energy, we are making ourselves more dependent on the import of fossil fuels from dubious regimes. In 2019 41% of our natural gas import came from Russia. In 2020 EU countries imported 60% of their uranium, a fossil fuel for nuclear power plants, from Niger, Russia and Kazakhstan. Investing in renewables is the best way to energy security, environmental sustainability and affordability.
Electricity from renewable energies is already cheaper than nuclear and gas more and more often. Renewables are becoming cheaper, nuclear and gas more and more expensive. Those who now rely on nuclear and gas will reap higher electricity costs for private consumers and businesses.
That's what it's about in detail: The European Commission has been working for months on a new EU standard for sustainable investments, the so-called EU taxonomy. This standard will define which economic activities can be considered sustainable. The classification as a sustainable investment can have large consequences both for private and public investment. The taxonomy will be used to identify sustainable investment products and other financial sector standards such as the EU standard for green bonds. Also, all large companies will have to disclose to what extent they meet the taxonomy requirements.
The taxonomy is also likely to be used in future decisions on European and national public subsidies. If the Commission gets its way, this could lead to additional tax payers money flowing into gas and nuclear energy.
Michael Bloss 🇩🇪 - Bas Eickhout 🇳🇱 - Ernest Urtasun 🇪🇸 - Damien Careme 🇫🇷 - Yannick Jadot 🇫🇷 - Michèle Rivasi 🇫🇷 - Eleonora Evi 🇮🇹
Members of the European Parliament for the Greens/EFA