Spain is a “strong supporter” of green taxonomy as a key part of common benchmarks that can be used by investors to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, according to the department headed by Spain’s vice president and minister of the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera. But the minister warned with this objective, “admitting nuclear and natural gas within the framework of the European green taxonomy would be a step backwards”. Ms Ribera said: âWhether investments can continue to be made in one or the other, we do not consider it to be green or sustainable energies.
In response to the project proposed by the European Commission, she replied: âIt makes no sense and sends the wrong signals for the energy transition of the EU as a whole.
Spain said nuclear power and natural gas can indeed play a role in the transition to decarbonization and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Ms Ribera added: “They should be treated separately and not as green, where there are other key energies for decarbonization and without risk or environmental damage.”
The regulatory framework of the European Green Pact stipulates that the green taxonomy regulation aims to guide companies and investors in their decarbonisation plans.
It also aims to find economic activities that respect the environment as well as to identify sectors that contribute to the reduction of CO2, methane and other gases linked to climate change.
The regulatory framework also tries to channel these increases in funding to sectors considered essential to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2050.
But Spain argued that to achieve these goals, the taxonomy must be “credible, useful and based on scientific evidence”.
According to the ministry, the key to considering an economic activity, sector or technology as “green” includes its “substantial contribution to the main environmental objectives of the EU, such as climate change mitigation”.
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It must also respect the principle of âDo no significant harmâ.
Spain insisted: âMethane emissions from natural gas production and the issue of nuclear energy waste call into question the inclusion of both technologies in the EU’s green taxonomy.
The Mediterranean power also claims that the inclusion of both in the green taxonomy “sends the wrong signal to financial markets and does not provide the clarity needed to focus capital flows towards the low-carbon, resilient and sustainable economy envisioned in the Green Deal. European”.
This is the latest blow to the EU after German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, both Green Party members, rejected proposals to classify the nuclear energy as sustainable energy.
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Ms Lemke said: “I think it is absolutely wrong that the European Commission intends to include nuclear energy in the EU classification for sustainable economic activities”, as a form of energy that could lead to “devastating environmental disasters and leave behind large amounts of hazardous materials and highly radioactive waste for thousands of years, so it cannot be sustainable.”
Mr Habeck, who is also climate minister, added: âThe Commission’s proposals dilute the right sustainability label.
âFrom our point of view, there is no possible approval of the new Commission proposals.
“In any case, one can wonder if this greenwashing will be accepted by the financial market.”
Like Germany, the EU’s neighbor Austria has also warned that it will reject the project.
Austrian Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler said: âThe Commission has taken a step towards greenwashing nuclear energy and fossil gases.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.