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France, Germany clash over EU treating nuclear & natural gas as green

France, Germany clash over EU treating nuclear & natural gas as green
France, Germany clash over EU treating nuclear & natural gas as green

The European Union (EU) has reportedly proposed to classify new investments in natural gas and nuclear power as green, which has caused an issue between Paris and Berlin regarding the taxonomy of sustainable energy.

On January 2nd, the German government allegedly criticized the attempts made by European Commission to treat nuclear investments as climate-friendly, despite knowing the reliability it offers and emissions-free power it generates. Interestingly, the German government was open to classifying certain natural gas projects as sustainable, even though the burning of natural gases causes carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

Recently, Germany has closed half of its operational nuclear plants, total 6 in number, as part of its goal to get rid of all nuclear power in the country by 2022.

German Environment Minister, Steffi Lemke, slammed the EU’s proposal and argued that nuclear energy can cause environmental disasters while also leaving behind huge quantities of spent fuel that is deemed it unsustainable.

The proposal comes after a year-long battle between member states of the EU in determining environmental-friendly investments.

The EU had begun a labeling system in order to define sustainable economic activities, with the regulatory body planning on making climate-friendly investments more appealing to private capital firms, while preventing greenwashing.

The categorization of nuclear power within the EU states has proved to be quite controversial, with Austria and Luxembourg also opposing its classification as sustainable like wind and solar.

France on the other hand, generates 70 percent of its power from nuclear power, and is a supporter of the new classification, and is seeing the support of other nuclear consumers like the Czech Republic and Finland who see it as an important step in getting rid of coal-fired plants.

The proposal was presented in Brussels as an attempt to find a middle ground between the clashing interests of Germany and France towards nuclear power.

Regulatory bodies will, however, only consider nuclear as a sustainable source of energy if member states are able to come up with safe and environmentally-friendly ways of eliminating radioactive waste, a primary concern of the German government after the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters.

Source credit: https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2022/01/04/germany-and-france-clash-over-eus-new-green-classifications-for-nuclear-energy-and-natural-gas/?sh=2437b1ab76b7

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