Nuclear and gas: EU Parliament approves new taxonomy

The EU Parliament has approved the EU Commission's proposal from February to classify investments in nuclear power and natural gas as sustainable under certain conditions. Of the 705 parliamentarians, 328 voted against the classification. Austria and Luxembourg now want to appeal the decision. Europe's press is equally divided.

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Echo24 (CZ) /

Nuclear energy to restore price stability

Echo24 is relieved about the decision:

“Nuclear energy is one of the few options to ensure acceptable energy prices for the future. The initial investment is high - a new block costs tens of billions of euros. However, the operation itself doesn't entail any major economic risks; it is not affected by sudden price fluctuations, like gas, for example. ... That's why France, which produces 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, has long been one of the countries in Europe with reasonable energy prices.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

A major opportunity missed

The EU is starting to weaken on climate protection, laments La Libre Belgique:

“The European Union had scored well with the introduction of the Green Deal. But here it is missing an important opportunity to strengthen this momentum and to assert itself as an international benchmark in climate protection through a credible and ambitious classification of what is sustainable and what is not. And at the same time to channel future investments quickly and massively into green technologies to make Europe a truly more sustainable continent.”

Sydsvenskan (SE) /

Emissions must be made even more expensive

Sydsvenskan is annoyed that natural gas of all things has been given the green label:

“Fortunately the taxonomy is not the only tool for changing society. The EU's emission rights system is of enormous importance in this context, also thanks to the fact that it's been tightened in the last few years. This has reduced CO2 emissions and sharply increased their price, making natural gas more expensive and less competitive compared to fossil-free energy sources. But here, too, the EU must do more. Further types of emissions need to be added to the system, such as maritime transport and home heating, and emissions allowances must continue to be taken off the market.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Critics on the wrong track

Les Echos debunks the claim that the green label for gas will increase the EU's dependence on Russia:

“In reality, the exact opposite is the case. Considerable investments are needed in the short term to develop alternative gas supply routes (liquefied natural gas, pipelines) and in the medium term to phase out coal, an energy with a disastrous carbon footprint that is enjoying an unexpected and worrying comeback. Above all, it would be a terrible mistake to turn our backs on nuclear energy. Europe needs this CO2-free energy to complement renewables and meet its climate targets, as the demand for electricity will be considerable. Putin's war shows just how much is at stake in terms of sovereignty.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Time for urgent investments in traditional energies

Clearly the energy crisis has not yet made its way as far as the European Parliament, La Stampa writes:

“The EU Parliament proved this yesterday with its adoption of a taxonomy of green investments. After months of wrangling it appears to be a little more open to gas and nuclear energy. In reality, however, it has imposed such strict conditions on them that to avoid confusion it would have been better to exclude them altogether. We urgently need billions of dollars of investment in traditional capacities, oil and gas wells, coal mines, nuclear power plants, and even oil refineries.”