EU proposes ‘green’ label for gas and nuclear energy
The proposals have divided opinions among member states, with Austria and Luxembourg threatening legal action
The European Commission is set to propose new rules for the classification of energy investments, allowing gas and nuclear power sources to be labeled as “sustainable” as a result of discussions on achieving a zero-carbon economy.
For more than a year, Brussels has been trying to create a new EU “energy taxonomy” rulebook in order to set global standards for determining “green energy” projects and direct investments to curb climate change and meet its goal of a zero-carbon economy by 2050.
The commission will confirm on Wednesday that some gas and nuclear power plants will be labeled “sustainable” so long as they meet a list of criteria. The document is said to contain minor changes compared to an earlier draft released in December and will make it easier for gas plants to attain the “green” labels.
According to the proposed rules, the nuclear and gas projects must be approved before 2030 and 2045 respectively, AFP reported. Gas plants must meet new emissions limits and will need to progressively burn more low-carbon gasses, switching to 100% low-carbon by 2035.
Opinions among EU members have been divided. On Tuesday, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark spoke out strongly against inclusion of gas energy projects for the lack of “scientific evidence” in a written statement to the European Commission.
“We call upon the European Commission to not include any fossil gas activities as sustainable in the current Taxonomy, as long as these activities are not subject to the same standards as other energy technologies,” the four energy ministers wrote, as cited by Bloomberg.
Opponents of nuclear energy have also voiced concerns regarding the topic. Last Friday, Austria and Luxembourg said that they were prepared to dispute the notion of “green” nuclear power in court.
The final proposal for“green” labeling may be subject to a veto from the super-majority of 20 EU countries out of 27. However, experts believe it is unlikely to happen.