eu taxonomy

Gas and nuclear issue: Austria to sue EU green energy policy

Adamantly anti-nuclear Austria said it would file a legal challenge to the European Union’s inclusion of natural gas and nuclear energy in a list of “green” investments.

The so-called taxonomy of the European Union is at issue. The taxonomy is a rulebook that defines which investments can be labeled as climate-friendly. It intends to guide investors toward green projects to help the EU meet its emissions-cutting targets.

Supporters claim that it’s the world’s most ambitious green investment rulebook. They expect it could direct huge sums of money into fighting climate change. Huge sums of money are undisputable, but are the taxonomy green? Critics say – NO. They say it’s a “greenwashing” exercise and it puts the EU’s climate change targets at risk.

Some rules are urgent, but not all

Rules for most sectors came into effect this year. It’s about covering investments including steel plants, electric cars, and building renovations. But, the rules for natural gas and nuclear energy are delayed. It’s due to intense lobbying from governments who disagree that fuels can help fight climate change.

Thus, in July, the European Parliament approved the European Commission’s proposal for nuclear and gas labeling as green. This step opened the way for this EP’s approval to become law. And it urged Austria to confirm that it would challenge it in European courts. Austrian government previously warned will do so. Luxembourg stated that supports Austria’s decision.

Nuclear energy and gas are neither green nor sustainable, according to Austria’s Green environment minister, Leonore Gewessler. She said, as promised, the government has filed a legal challenge to the European Commission’s taxonomy regulation.

Gewessler will hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss the lawsuit filed at the European Union’s Court of Justice.

Taxonomy on gas and nuclear energy

The EU taxonomy seeks to clarify the murky world of sustainable investing by requiring that any financial products making eco-friendly claims meet certain criteria. Gas-fired power plants, for example, must transition to low-carbon gases and meet emissions targets by 2035.

Greenpeace and other environmentalists have already filed legal challenges to nuclear energy and natural gas inclusion.