European Parliament approves EU ‘green’ label for gas and nuclear
Gas and nuclear are now recognized as necessary in the fight against climate change. This is how we must understand the granting of the “green” label to these two energies by the deputies of the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The controversial text, presented in January by the Commission, classifies as “sustainable” certain investments for the production of electricity in nuclear power stations – which do not emit CO2 – or gas-fired power stations, provided that they mobilize the most advanced technologies. And, for the latter, that they make it possible to close much more polluting coal-fired power stations.
Environmentalists denounce a “greenwashing” operation
This classification should help to mobilize private funds in these projects. It is part of the EU’s objective of carbon neutrality by 2050. Meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs rejected a proposed veto against this project, by a majority of 328 votes.
The green light from the Member States having already been granted, the opponents announced that they would launch legal proceedings, the only means now available to block the initiative. “I ask you not to reject this fragile compromise negotiated with care,” asked Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala on Wednesday morning, whose country has just taken over the rotating presidency of the EU from France.
“Nuclear energy and gas from safe countries will be the only way for some member states to achieve our common climate goals in the years to come,” he said. The recognition of the contribution of gas and nuclear to the fight against climate change, based on the basis of expert reports, has aroused the anger of environmental organizations which denounce a “greenwashing” operation. The “green” label was previously reserved for renewable energies.
Energies “temporarily essential to the transition”
After the first demonstrations by environmental defense organizations on Tuesday, a few dozen pro and anti-nuclear activists demonstrated face-to-face on Wednesday morning to challenge MEPs on their arrival at the European Parliament. In the hemicycle, the anti-gas had also given voice during a debate on Tuesday.
“How can we ask other countries to reduce their use of fossil fuels if we classify them as green?” asked Dutchman Bas Eickhout. “No one is saying that gas and nuclear are green energies, but they are temporarily essential for the transition. We must use all the tools to do without oil and coal as a priority,” argued French MEP Gilles Boyer. .
France supports the project
The EU executive believes that renewable energies alone will not be able to meet the growing demand for electricity due to their intermittent production. Hence the need, at least on a transitional basis, to also promote investment in stable and controllable resources such as gas and nuclear.
France, which wants to relaunch its nuclear industry, and central European countries such as Poland, which must replace their coal-fired power stations, are in favor of this initiative.
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