With the EU Taxonomy the European Commission wants to label nuclear energy and gas as “green”. Leading up to the decisive plenary vote in July 2022 we will be covering different angles as to why the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament will not accept this greenwashing. So here are 10 reasons why gas and nuclear energy are not sustainable.
1 Labelling gas and nuclear energy “green” investments would mean financing Putin’s war
Wednesday, 06 July 2022
Today on Wednesday 6 June we are facing the extremely important vote on whether gas and nuclear label get a sustainability label or not.
Labelling it a green investment would mean financing Putin’s war. According to a recent study by Greenpeace, Russia would earn € 4 billion more per year from an expansion of gas capacity, meaning 32 billion by 2030.
While thanks to nuclear power, Rosatom, which is a Russian state company with strong commercial ties to the European nuclear industry, would secure 500 billion in additional investments.
Gas has become more than ever a source of energy insecurity and geopolitical risk for our continent.
It is no coincidence that the current greenbond market excludes gas and nuclear power. Including them would be counterproductive for banks and financial institutions. They need long-term certainty on the environmental impact of their investments.
Everyone knows that nowadays the price of renewables is far lower than gas. And new nuclear power plants take 15-20 years from planning to operation. Also, nuclear power plants are estimated to be 4 times more expensive than new onshore solar or wind power plants.
The ferocious lobbying of Russian companies such as Gazprom and Lukoil to include gas and nuclear power in the EU taxonomy has been amply demonstrated. This is not a coincidence, considering that the EU Taxonomy would be a gift to Putin to continue to violate the human rights of the Ukrainian people.
As the Greens/EFA in the European Parlament, we have no doubts: gas and nuclear power must stay out of the taxonomy.
2 The Taxonomy Lies
Tuesday, 05 July 2022
How is it possible that things always get messed up in the end? The EU taxonomy is (or was) a great and heroic idea to define – with a science-based approach – what is a green investment and to end the discussion on greenwashing in the financial sector once and for all. But we ended up with a severely watered-down version that does not serve its own purpose. This is no longer a taxonomy that will help to accelerate the financing of a green transition.
Enough has been said about labeling gas and nuclear as “sustainable activities”. It is completely wrong. Not science-based but vested-interest based. It also highlights a design flaw in the taxonomy, which was addressed by the Platform on Sustainable Finance in its March report. We should clearly distinguish sustainable, intermediate and neutral activities, with intermediate activities being activities that need to continue to improve their environmental performance levels over time. Natural gas might qualify for that.
And that is the relevant discussion: instead of concentrating on the green label, investments might more quickly move to a more sustainable direction if harmful activities were labeled. After all, which investor would think it is a good idea to invest in activities that are officially labeled as “harmful”?
But for now, it is a lie if someone claims the taxonomy will speed up the energy transition. It speeds up vested interests. And sadly, we have politics to blame for that.
3 Taxonomy will make the cost of living crisis worse, not better
Friday, 01 July 2022
Diverting investment towards gas and nuclear, and away from truly green energy sources, will exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis in Europe and increase energy poverty. That is because, while we are still dependent on expensive energy sources like gas and nuclear, households will remain exposed to extreme price volatility in the energy market.
Promoting gas in infrastructure as green also promotes the falsehood that inefficient and faulty gas boilers are the “sustainable” choice. In reality, they will lock vulnerable households into energy poverty and an unsustainable future.
Meanwhile, prices of clean, renewable energies are hitting record lows. By choosing to invest in these technologies, we will accelerate our transition towards a highly energy-efficient and fully renewable-based economy. This will reduce energy costs and consumption of fossil fuels. We will also see gains in EU energy sovereignty, energy security, and come closer to meeting our climate targets. For individual households, a fully renewable-based economy means lower energy bills, lower prices, and a healthier environment to live in. It will lift millions out of energy poverty, and will shield every household in Europe from price shocks in the fossil energy markets. We have the technologies and the know-how to make Europe a fully renewable-based economy. So let’s say no to higher prices and more fossil fuels by voting down the EU Taxonomy, and make this economy a reality!
4 Public scrutiny is essential – citizens’ opinion on the greenwashing of fossil gas and nuclear cannot be ignored
Wednesday, 29 June 2022
When proposing to include investments in fossil gas and nuclear in the EU Taxonomy, the European Commission failed to respect the basic principles of public participation in the adoption of EU legislation.
European Institutions have established tools and rules to ensure that the EU decision-making process is fair, transparent and open to citizen’s feedback. These tools include the Better Regulation Guidelines and the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law Making. Both were neglected by the Commission in the process which led to the proposal including gas and nuclear in the EU Taxonomy of sustainable investments.
Both these instruments foresee an obligation for the European Commission to open a 4-week public consultation before adopting proposals. This consultation period should give citizens, civil society and any interested stakeholder the right to express their opinion on the decision in question. However, the EU Commission decided not to hold this consultation before proposing to classify gas and nuclear as sustainable with the EU Taxonomy.
The inclusion of gas and nuclear in the EU Taxonomy would have enormous consequences on the environment, on the future of our energy system, on the market, on investors, on public funds and on citizens. It is therefore essential that it is subject to public scrutiny. The draft to label gas and nuclear energy as green has received strong criticism from citizens, civil society, academics, policy makers and investors. All these voices have been ignored. One more reason to vote this Delegated Act down!
5 There will be no European energy sovereignty with the Greenwashing of gas and nuclear
Monday, 27 June 2022
There will be no European energy sovereignty by greenwashing gas and nuclear.
At the moment the EU is highly dependent on fossil and uranium imports. We import 70 percent of our hard coal, 90 percent of our gas demand, 97 percent of our oil demand, and even 100 percent of our uranium.
From Russia alone, the EU imports 40 percent of its gas and 20 percent of its uranium demand. Besides the import of gas and fuel rods, Europe is highly dependent on Russian infrastructure and spare parts for running nuclear power plants, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe.
This is why President Putin will pop champagne bottles if the EU Taxonomy will not be stopped by the European Parliament.
We need a massive expansion of renewables and an immediate energy efficiency program so Europe can achieve a sustainable energy supply and turn off Putin’s money tap.
Including nuclear and fossil gas into the taxonomy, even when labelled as “transitional” or “enabling”, will set these technologies on equal footing with solar and wind.
Instead of giving incentives to pump money into technology that is harmful to our climate the European Commission should steer its energy into fulfilling the European Green Deal.
This is why we will vote down the EU Taxonomy!
6 Follow the science – to save the climate fossil gas needs to stay in the ground.
Thursday, 23 June 2022
To fight climate change, we need clarity and leadership on the best way forward. But the European Commission is doing the exact opposite. They have proposed to label investments in fossil gas and nuclear power as “green investments” in the EU taxonomy. This goes against science. It gives the wrong signal to private investors and diverts European public money. We desperately need to promote energy savings and renewables. This is why this EU taxonomy must be rejected.
I won’t even waste time explaining again why nuclear power is just about the most expensive and dangerous energy in the world. As for gas – the International Energy Agency itself calls for a halt to all new fossil fuel projects.
Even the European Commission’s own estimates state that the European Union must have reduced its gas consumption by at least 36% by 2030, and that we have to be completely off gas within a decade. Gas cannot therefore be given a green label!
The EU is caught in a contradiction: it pushed for the inclusion of the end of fossil fuel subsidies in the Glasgow Climate Agreement. On the other hand, by designating gas as “green”, it will stimulate investment in gas. This would have a disastrous global impact and would turn its back on the objective of keeping global warming to 1.5°C.
Boosting gas investments is not a transitional measure, but a full-scale attack on the climate. Together, let’s reject the taxonomy’s delegated act on gas and nuclear!
7 The European Commission itself says: Only clean energy should be labelled as sustainable.
Thursday, 02 June 2022
According to the European Commission’s proposal itself, investments should only be labeled green if they firstly contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation and secondly do no significant harm.
But if there is one thing certain, then that The EU-Commission’s proposal to include gas and nuclear energy production in the Taxonomy regulation does significant harm to the consumer’s trust by including nuclear energy in the list of investments that are considered sustainable.
And here’s why: We simply cannot build a circular economy on the uranium fuel cycle. Uranium is, per definition, a limited, non-renewable resource. In addition, nuclear energy is already the most expensive form of energy according to recent studies. And that is even when we are excluding the unforeseeable costs to future generations for storing and destroying the waste.
Looking at the enormous risks that nuclear energy poses to life on earth, we cannot switch to investing into renewable energy fast enough. Building new nuclear power plants takes time and valuable resources. Projects currently under construction are already facing massive delays. It can take several decades before a new nuclear power plant is operational. We don’t have that kind of time. Let’s encourage companies to invest into clean and renewable sources of energy instead of labeling investments into nuclear energy as “green”.
Therefore we are going to “do no significant harm” by objecting to the European Commission’s proposal on the EU Taxonomy.
8 No time to waste – The EU Taxonomy should be promoting truly sustainable investments now.
Wednesday, 01 June 2022
To keep our planet liveable we need billions of investment towards sustainability. But the EU is at risk of failing in its massive task of steering these investments towards those economic activities that we need in the next decades to survive.
At the last climate summit in Glasgow, the world moved slowly but surely in the direction of phasing out fossil fuels. With the decision made by the European Commission, the EU now risks turning the clock backwards by including both fossil gas and nuclear power in the taxonomy for sustainable investments. In the upcoming weeks, the European Parliament has a last chance to stop this.
The EU Taxonomy is increasingly used as a reference for European and even global investments. Classifying fossil gas and nuclear energy as ‘sustainable’ would strike at the foundations of virtually all EU policies to increase the sustainability of investments.
We are facing a climate crisis, a cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine. This means that the EU urgently needs to become independent of Russian uranium and gas. Artificial incentives to invest in expensive nuclear and dirty fossil energy at the expense of renewables and other sustainable sectors is the last thing we need.
The European Parliament has the power to make sure that the EU Taxonomy remains an instrument for promoting truly sustainable investments. We need to block the attempt to paint gas and nuclear energy green.
Let’s stop the greenwashing. Stop this Taxonomy now!
9 The EU Taxonomy is a financial and environmental threat to younger generations. We will not accept it!
Wednesday, 01 June 2022
Fridays for Future climate activists Martina Comparelli & Marco Pitò criticise the EU Taxonomy
Climate activists all around the world agree: the European Commission cannot get away with a misleading EU taxonomy on sustainable investments.
On January 13th, we youth activists from all over Europe protested with two handcrafted fossil gas plant cooling towers provided by Greenpeace. They were painted green, the same way that the European Commission is greenwashing gas plants with this EU Taxonomy.
We still have a chance to stop this. Until the beginning of July we need to convince at least 353 Members of the European Parliament to block this EU Taxonomy.
Join in and help us to spread the word. Come to a protest or organise one, write to your MEPs. And never lose hope. We will not accept this scam. Not for our generation and not for the ones to come.
Stop the EU Taxonomy – We need to stick to the Paris Agreement and invest in a green future instead
Wednesday, 01 June 2022
The Greens/EFA Climate Campaigner, Hedvig Sveistrup
In December 2021, the European Commission adopted a list of criteria for sustainable investment, the EU “Taxonomy”. With the Taxonomy Regulation, the European Commission wants to set a standard for which investments made in the EU are sustainable and which ones are not.
This EU Taxonomy for sustainable investments should ensure that that EU countries and companies are encouraged to invest climate friendly. This way these investments would be more in line with the EU’s Green Deal and the climate targets of the Paris Agreement.
But this list has a major error: the Commission’s announcement also classified investments in gas and nuclear power as sustainable. And this is despite us all knowing that fossil gas and nuclear energy cause considerable harm to the environment and contribute to global warming.
This is greenwashing of energy technologies that are harmful to climate and to the environment, and it must be stopped!
Leading up to the plenary vote in July we will be covering different angles as to why the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament will not accept this greenwashing, this EU Taxonomy.
We need the EU to encourage truly green investments and renewable energies to move away from fossil gas and energy dependence and to stop the climate crisis.
✍️ Sign our petition to stop the greenwashing and follow us here for weekly updates on the EU Taxonomy.
Nuclear energy is not sustainable – So let’s not label it as such
Nuclear energy is not without risks and places a burden on future generations, as accidents with huge consequences in Fukushima and Chernobyl show. Nuclear waste is dangerous for generations to come. Uranium mining and milling, and the storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel do not respect the taxonomy law requirement to prevent significant harm to any environmental objective.
Let’s rather invest in making energy use more efficient and in the development of renewable energy. Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, lead to much faster greenhouse gas reductions.
How will we achieve climate neutrality? Not with the EU Taxonomy
New investments in fossil activities such as gas-fired power plants are incompatible with the goal to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 as the International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently confirmed. We have to stop fossil investments already from the year 2022 onwards to keep in line with the 1,5 degree temperature goal.
Why is the EU then encouraging private gas investments when at the same time the EU rightly called for the ending of fossil subsidies at the COP26?
Stop this Taxonomy and sign our petition above!