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EU parliament clears the deck to declare nuclear power and natural gas as ‘green’ energy; Greta Thunberg fumes over the decision

The new rules will pave the way for gas and nuclear power plants to make it to the EU taxonomy rulebook from 2023. After that, the investors will be able to label and market their investments in these two sectors as 'green'.

On July 6 (local time), the European Union Parliament declared nuclear power and natural gas green energy. By backing EU rules to label investments in these sectors as climate-friendly, EP threw out an attempt to block the law that underscored the deep difference between how countries deal with climate change. With the vote, the proposal of the European Union has a clearer path to becoming law. The only way by which it would fail is if 20 of the 27 members decide to oppose the move, which, according to reports, is not likely to happen.

The new rules will pave the way for gas and nuclear power plants to make it to the EU taxonomy rulebook from 2023. After that, the investors will be able to label and market their investments in these two sectors as ‘green’.

There were 606 lawmakers present during the voting, and 33 had abstained. Out of these, 328 opposed the motion to block the EU gas and nuclear proposals. On the other hand, 278 lawmakers voted to block the proposals. In the 705-seat parliament, 353 votes were necessary to secure a majority, which opponents of the new rules failed to secure.

In February this year, European Commission proposed new rules that will allow the gas and nuclear industries to label their investments as green. The proposal was tabled after a delay of one year. The government and the stakeholders in the industry have been lobbying for the proposal of the new rules for a long time.

It is notable that there has been intense debate in the EU countries, lawmakers and investors over labelling the gas and nuclear industry as green. Reports suggest the EU taxonomy rulebook was designed to ensure all financial products that make claims of being eco-friendly would adhere to strict standards.

While there is virtually no CO2 emission in nuclear energy, it produces radioactive waste. Similarly, Gas plants produce emissions that cause a warming effect on the planet. However, in both cases, they are much more sustainable compared to coal.

France, which is dependent largely on nuclear energy and Poland, which is a heavy coal user, backed the new rules. However, Austria and Luxembourg had threatened to sue the EU if the new rules became law. Denmark and other nations had warned the EU that if the CO2 emitting gas gets the green label, it will undermine the union’s credibility in fighting climate change.

Greta Thunberg ‘fumes’ over new rules

Soon after the new laws were passed, dubious environment activist Greta Thunberg ranted on social media. In a tweet, she wrote, “The European Parliament just voted to label fossil gas as “green” energy. This will delay a desperately needed real, sustainable transition and deepen our dependency on Russian fuels. The hypocrisy is striking but, unfortunately not surprising. This is still #NotMyTaxonomy.”

Interestingly, she mentioned only gas in her tweet and completely skipped nuclear energy that she had ranted about a day before. In an earlier tweet, she wrote, “Tomorrow the European Parliament will decide whether fossil gas and nuclear will be considered “sustainable” in the EU taxonomy. But no amount of lobbyism and greenwashing will ever make it “green”. We desperately need real renewable energy, not false solutions.”

Green energy and sustainable energy sources are a topic that always runs on a slippery slope. While it is true that by using wind turbines, solar panels and other means of ‘cleaner’ energy, we reduce CO2 emissions, one must not forget how batteries, solar panels and wind turbines etc are made. The carbon footprint left behind by these machines and the way they end up in dumping groups is not something that would help the earth in the longer run. There has to be a better way to sustainable energy resources without hampering progress and without compromising the supply of required energy, especially in fast-growing nations.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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