June 28, 2022

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Brussels studies include nuclear and gas energy as energy sources to combat climate change |  Economie

Brussels studies include nuclear and gas energy as energy sources to combat climate change | Economie

In the midst of the energy blow rocking the continent, Brussels is considering giving its own label, similar to the green label recognizing wind or solar energy, for investments in nuclear and gas. This position, widely criticized by environmental organizations, is gaining strength as electricity prices rise and debate rages over the operation of the electricity market. The European Commission is expected to touch these two sources of energy with its stick before the end of the year, when the so-called classification concludes, A classification that distinguishes what is a green bond and what is not, which aims to direct remote funding towards the environmental transformation of the European Union.

From the Commission, which launched the ambitious Green Deal in July, a set of measures aimed at achieving the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 55% by 2030 across the European Union, there are those who view the latest twists in the text with “frustration”, and believe there are A risk that you will end up agreeing to something “ridiculous”.

“The aim of the ranking was to compile an index of green technologies,” says a senior source from the Executive Community, who sarcastically notes that, in the end, of the investments hit with the “clean” stick, all generation sources will follow except coal. Although he assumes that the inclusion of gas and nuclear is already a “politically inevitable” decision, he believes that the executive branch of society will have to devise some formula, a different designation or a second classification, so as not to treat them like renewables. , such as the wind or the sun.

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After the last summit of European leaders, where the twenty-seven summit was They debated for hours about the energy marketCommunity Executive Chair Ursula von der Leyen clearly opened the door for the inclusion of nuclear and gas energy in the classification: “It is clear that we need more renewables and clean energies,” she said in an appearance announcing the proposal or offer. Besides, we need a constant source: nuclear. And during the transition, of course, natural gas.”

The inclusion of nuclear power would be a victory for France, the great atomic power of the European Union, which gets about 75% of its electrical energy from this source and leads a group of ten countries in favor of the measure, which includes Finland, Poland and seven other partners from the East. Emmanuel Macron took advantage of gas prices on the continent, prompting the controversy at the last European summit, leaving Brussels with good taste: “Today we depend a lot on imports of some energy sources, and therefore the price rises depending on the tension in the market,” the French president said in front of the media, demanding Diversify more. “In this context, nuclear power should be part of the options,” he said about the classification.

The ten offspring Some of the countries have been putting pressure on the commission for months. Already in March, the Paris-led group wrote a letter to the community’s executive, even recalling the nuclear foundations on which the European Union was founded. “We are convinced that all available low- or zero-emission technologies that contribute to climate neutrality,” they argued, “should not only be recognized, but also actively supported by the European Union. This is particularly true of nuclear energy, which is a Its development is one of the main objectives of the treaty establishing The Euratom community, which EU institutions are obliged to promote“.

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Also among its chief defenders is the Commissioner for the Internal Market and Industry, French Thierry Breton: “Europe will need nuclear power to ensure, together with hydropower, a stable and carbon-free production of electricity,” he wrote in October in one of his joint articles . Linkedin Articles.

But they are faced by Germany, which has pledged to shut down all of its atomic reactors in 2022 and leads the anti-nuclear bloc alongside Spain, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg. The upcoming formation of a government with a green presence in Berlin could make things even more complicated. And the Commission, which has pledged to adopt a position before December, may need more time, delaying the decision until 2022, which will make it more difficult: in January, France takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union, and the country will also take over the presidency of the European Union. Elections in April.

“It is a huge disappointment [la canciller saliente de Alemania, Angela] Merkel effectively abandoned her opposition to France’s nuclear policy in the EU’s recent summit rankings,” and this week blamed Green German parliamentarian Sven Giegold. “With a nuclear power facelift, Merkel made the biggest possible parting gift to the French president. The French initiative is a nail in the coffin for ratings and buries the single market for sustainable finance. With nuclear and gas rated as sustainable, the rating loses its credibility.”

An unofficial proposal distributed by Brussels these days, and leaked by the WWF, details in black on white some of the criteria for including gas and nuclear power in the classification. The document, for example, calls for recognition of the “significant contribution to climate change mitigation” for gas and combined cycle plants that emit less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour.

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“Half of the existing gas plants in the EU will be categorized as ‘green’ by the EU classification if these criteria are successful,” objected Sebastian Godino, an economist at the WWF’s European Policy Office, who deplored this “incoherent” measure of It would conflict with what organizations like the International Energy Agency have set out to deal with the increase in temperatures caused by climate change. He criticized: “If the EU Commission accepts the standards, the scientific credibility of the classification will collapse and the EU financial market will be fragmented: the Commission should reject this vigorously.”

Brussels approved the bulk of the rating measures in April, with the aim of creating “a common language that investors can use when investing in projects and economic activities that have Significant positive impact on climate and the environment”, as he confirmed then. But he did not enter the discussion about gas and nuclear, which he later left, pending technical reports.