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EU Parliament supports green label for gas, nuclear power – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial EU proposal to label gas and nuclear power investments with a sustainable finance label, prompting accusations of “greenwashing” by environmental lobbyists.

MPs in the eastern French city of Strasbourg declined to oppose the measure, which was backed by France and Germany.

There were 278 votes to stop it, while 328 voted for the green light. There were 33 abstentions.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, whose country has just taken over the rotating EU presidency from France, tweeted that the result was “excellent news” for Europe.

“It paves the way to energy self-sufficiency, which is absolutely critical to our future,” he said.

The green seal, referred to as a “taxonomy” in EU parlance, for gas and nuclear power is the only way to “enable certain EU countries to achieve their climate goals,” he warned before the vote.

A small but influential group of member states and activists had lobbied hard in a coalition of opponents of nuclear and gas energy to get MPs rejecting the label.

Gas critics point to the war in Ukraine as the most pressing reason for rejecting the green label, saying encouraging investment would only increase dependence on Russian supplies.

“To call gas and nuclear green and to ensure that more money goes into Putin’s war chest is dirty politics and an outrageous result,” said Ariadna Rodrigo, Greenpeace EU campaigner for sustainable finance.

“We will challenge this in court,” she added.

Eco-activist Greta Thunberg tweeted that “the hypocrisy is striking” and argued that Parliament’s approval will “delay a much-needed truly sustainable transition and deepen our dependence on Russian fuel.”

Meanwhile, critics of nuclear power point to the threat of accidents and nuclear waste, and believe that solar and wind power are the best way forward.

But the EU executive, under pressure from nuclear-powered France and gas-dependent Germany, argues that both have a role to play as cleaner energy sources in the transition to a net-zero carbon future.

The EU hopes its label will channel huge sums of private capital into activities that support climate goals.

Supporters of the taxonomy insist that investments in gas and nuclear power are a necessary step on the “road to sustainable energy sources,” said German MEP Christian Ehler.

For that reason, the vote is a “wise decision” that will later lead to more renewable energy, he added.

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