The EU has drafted a plan to include natural gas and nuclear energy to the definition of environmentally sustainable investments.
We demand the removal of nuclear power and gas sources from the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Investments. Join us to stop their greenwashing.
In the Taxonomy, the European Commission promoted the labelling of gas and nuclear as transitional sources of energy to replace more polluting coal power stations. The overall objective of the proposal is to attract private funding towards the EU’s so-called green ambitions, which aim to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and guide us towards climate neutrality by 2050. The green transition is a business estimated at some €520 billion per year and it is supposedly rooted on a sustainable development approach. Yet, processes towards environmental sustainability are in the hands of oligarchs and, in general, of the same capitalistic system that caused the environmental crisis.
A deep reflection on the risks associated with this source of energy is needed. In more than 60 years of nuclear power, not a single fuel element was disposed of, while existing nuclear power plants would need modifications and safety upgrades to keep on operating. On the other hand, gas plants will just allow CO2-emitting power stations to be declared green, making de facto one of the fossil fuels labelled as green. Clearly, it is ridiculous to conceive a 40-year investment on such power sources.
From a political perspective, French president Emmanuel Macron is particularly active in defending nuclear energy, while German chancellor Olaf Scholz has claimed to be more flexible regarding gas, proving how the economic engine of the EU still frustrates any plausible attempt at a common standard for a green transition. In Brussels, the political debate on the draft exposes a crack within the European Parliament. However, the widespread consternation does not directly translate into numbers. The political deal is compromised, but we offer the alternative.
DiEM25’s Green New Deal for Europe puts forward an alternative proposal for what such a taxonomy would entail:
- identifying environmentally-destructive activities (seen through a spectrum of ‘greenness/brownness’ rather than a binary ‘good/bad’ model) and ensuring that companies engaged in them face direct impacts on their finances
- looking more holistically at the climate and environmental impacts of business activities; not favouring companies that might be contributing to the green transition, but which are otherwise also engaged in environmental degradation
The above will ensure that the risks and externalities of investments in non-renewables are accounted for more accurately, which can also support the accurate long-term pricing of fossil fuel assets — dramatically lowering their market value and paving the way for the orderly winding-down of fossil fuel companies.
The new European Commission’s Taxonomy is both a political and technical backward step. The new version of the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy aligns with processes of greenwashing aimed at benefiting oligarchs and multinational companies. Clearly, the dismissal of fossil sources is not proceeding at the needed pace. Considering the controversial nature of the current political will and direction, it is essential to strongly oppose such processes of greenwashing and reverse the mechanisms of decision-making within EU institutional bodies.
How? We must ensure that the true cost of harming the environment is internalised and starts impacting corporations’ profitability. No incentives or signals are going to stop corporations from polluting the atmosphere!
We cannot let ourselves be deprived of a real green transition! Nuclear power and gas energy are not green, and they cannot be.
We have wasted enough time and resources. We need to do far, far better than this. Now.
You have the vote. Don’t put a nail in the coffin of Planet Earth. Don’t paint it green!