German minister calls for overhaul of EU green energy funding rules

General view of the two cooling towers of the Electricité de France (EDF) nuclear power plant in Chooz France, January 24, 2022. Picture taken January 24, 2022. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol

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BERLIN, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Germany’s environment minister on Thursday called for a comprehensive package of proposed European Union rules on what types of energy to label as green after policymakers in Brussels ignored German objections to the inclusion of nuclear energy.

The EU’s draft plan, released late last year, which would classify investments in some natural gas and nuclear power as environmentally sustainable, has divided opinion in the 27-member bloc of the EU and among investors.

France, home to a globally significant nuclear industry, supported the classification of nuclear power as sustainable.

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Some members of the investment community also argue that labeling nuclear and natural gas as green investments would help drive low-carbon evolution by encouraging funding for facilities to wean countries off the dirtiest fuels, mainly coal.

But Germany, which decided to phase out nuclear power altogether after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, opposed the move, saying nuclear power was expensive and created a major waste storage problem. radioactive.

“Given the importance of these issues, there needs to be public consultation and a proper legislative process,” Steffi Lemke, a member of the Greens on the Greens, told Reuters.

“This is the only way to ensure adequate involvement of the public, Member States and the European Parliament.”

The EU’s set of standards, known as the taxonomy, aims to standardize disparate approaches to channeling investment as the EU seeks to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Austria and Luxembourg have already challenged the European Commission‘s decision in court, which still needs to be debated and ratified by EU member states.

EU Financial Markets Commissioner Mairead McGuiness earlier told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that there would be no fundamental changes to the taxonomy, saying the Commission had limited room for manoeuvre.

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Written by Thomas Escritt; edited by Barbara Lewis

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