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07 Jul 2022, 13:28
Edgar Meza

Critics blast EU Parliament’s taxonomy decision to label nuclear and gas ‘sustainable’

Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire

The German government has joined environmentalists in condemning the European Parliament’s decision to support the inclusion of nuclear and gas power plants in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities covered by the EU Taxonomy classification system. At the same time, climate protection proponents are calling on Germany to back legal action against the move, Spiegel reports. The German government flatly rejects the European Commission’s view that private investment in nuclear power generation in particular has a role in the energy transition. "Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the federal government is sticking to its position and considers nuclear energy unsustainable," said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, as per Spiegel.

German Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer wrote on Twitter: “EU climate policy has now been permanently weakened,” adding that parts of the European Parliament had decided “that they would rather greenwash us all into Nirvana”. Fridays for Future reported that billions of euros were now flowing into new gas infrastructure and nuclear power plants instead of expanding wind and solar power plants. Joachim Schuster a German MEP from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), described the decision as a "setback for climate and environmental protection in Europe", while Green Party MEP Michael Bloss lamented: “Today is a sad day for the European energy transition.”

Opponents have announced their intention to take legal action before the European Court of Justice, a move supported by the governments of Austria and Luxembourg. Left Party MEP Martin Schirdewan called on the German government to similarly back the legal fight. Industry representatives welcomed the news, however. "For security of energy supply in the midst of the current energy crisis, investments in gas infrastructure are needed more than ever, especially in liquid gas terminals," said Holger Loesch of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The way is now clear for financial investment in the transition from coal and natural gas to renewable and alternative gases, providing the industry with planning security, he added.

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