Why the European Union has recognized corn and dirty gases as ‘green’

Natural gas and nuclear fuels are fossil and far from renewable energy sources. How did they end up on the clean slate?

Against the background of the energy crisis and record demand for coal, the European Commission has included natural gas and nuclear fuels in clean energy sources, despite the discontent of environmentalists and the largest economy in the European Union, Germany. Korrespondent.net He tells the details.

Why do we need a “green rating”

The European Union’s highest executive body has approved a classification of clean energy sources, which is likely to come into force in the next six months. Until January 12, EU member states can express their views on the submitted proposals, then the legislative registration procedure begins.

“Taking into account current scientific advice and technological advances, as well as the challenges of the transition period in member states, the European Commission has decided that natural gas and nuclear energy are two means of facilitating the transition to the use of predominantly renewable sources,” the European Commission said in a statement.

The paper notes that gas and nuclear power contribute to the transition to climate neutrality. However, assets related to the gas industry can only be included in the so-called EU classification and obtain “green” status if, by 2023, the gas they use comes from renewable sources and has a low percentage of harmful emissions.

The term classification refers to the classification system developed in Brussels for the types of economic activities that contribute to sustainable development, climate protection and a healthy environment to one degree or another.

For the European Union, the classification should become a unified system for classifying the assets of market participants in terms of environmental impact. This instrument will be one of the keys to ensuring the European Union’s planned transition to clean energy sources by 2050.

Another tool – regulation for a cross-border corrective carbon mechanism or carbon tax – was introduced by the European Commission in July 2021. It implies that manufacturers who supply the EU with products with a high carbon footprint will have to pay for greenhouse gas emissions when creating their products and goods .

The “green classification” refers to industries that account for 40 percent of the European economy and 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which the world has recognized as the cause of climate change.

The EU’s decision is also significant because it far outperformed the rest in greening the economy and combating climate change. The European Union is the second largest economy in the world after the United States, which lags dangerously behind in reducing emissions. Therefore, the European classification of clean and dirty economy has the potential to become the gold standard for the rest of the world.

The rating is created to set benchmarks for what is “green” and what is not, to serve as a guide for both private investors when selecting promising investments, and for government agencies when identifying economic projects that offer subsidies, incentives, or operating permits.

This system is designed to redirect financial flows to where the technologies that contribute to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 are applied, which is the stated goal of the European Union.

How it turns out that the gas and the atom are “clean”

The inclusion of ten EU countries in the list of “green” nuclear energy industries was proposed before the climate conference in Glasgow in the fall of 2021. The initiative was sponsored by countries including France, Finland and Poland.

The fate of the document may be affected by the contradictions between France, where 70 percent of the generation comes from nuclear power plants, and Germany, which is shutting down its last nuclear power plants.

Until recently, many German opponents of nuclear power, even in a nightmare state, could not imagine that nuclear power plants could be officially declared “green” or compatible with the concept of sustainable development (not harmful to nature) in the European Union, notes DW.

Last November, the environment and climate ministers of Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal and Denmark issued a joint statement on the dangers of nuclear energy. And this, in their opinion, goes against the principle of “do no harm” declared in the EU classification.

The growing conflict between two locomotives of the European economy was resolved by including not only corn, but also natural gas, on which the Germans depend, in the list of “green” energies. The new German government has big plans to build gas-fired power plants in the country.

The truth is that both natural gas and nuclear fuels are fossil, dirty and far from renewable energy sources. Gas is a source of emissions during extraction, during transportation and during combustion. Nuclear power plant waste is toxic. Although gas is of course cleaner than coal, and nuclear reactors do not smoke at all.

A new view of nuclear energy is associated with a change in priorities in the field of environmental protection. For a long time, environmental protection has been at the forefront with an emphasis on the purity of air, water and soil, and the preservation of biodiversity.

This approach ruled out the recognition of NPPs as “green” with their radioactive background, potential radioactive emissions and often questionable disposal of radioactive waste. Not to mention accidents that have affected entire regions for a long time or forever.

However, in recent years, due to the acceleration of global warming, climate protection has come to the fore, the primary objective of which is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. This led to a revision of the attitude towards nuclear power plants, which do not emit carbon dioxide during the production of electricity.

At the same time, nuclear power plants have a chance to gain a foothold in the “green” future. In its latest report, the International Energy Agency listed nuclear power plants and small reactors as one of four key measures to rapidly and cheaply reshape the energy sector to keep global temperature rises within the 1.5 degree limits of the Paris Agreement.

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