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EU Taxonomy: a step closer to labelling nuclear and gas as sustainable

The European Commission started consultations with experts on a draft text of a Taxonomy Complementary Delegated Act covering gas and nuclear activities.

Taking into account the scientific advice, current technological progress in the energy field and varying clean energy transition challenges across the Member States of the European Union, the Commission is considering the role of natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a clean energy future.

Within the Taxonomy framework, this means classifying these two energy sources under clear and tight conditions. For example, for gas, this implies that it must come from renewable sources or have low emissions by 2035.

The EU Taxonomy guides private investment in activities that are needed to achieve climate neutrality in the next 30 years. To ensure transparency, the Commission will amend the Taxonomy Disclosure Delegated Act so that investors can identify if activities include gas or nuclear and to what extent, so that they can make informed choices.

The current energy mix of Europe varies from one Member State to another. Some Central and Eastern European countries including Poland and the Czech Republic are still heavily based on high carbon-emitting coal. For these states and others who represent the ten of Europe’s pro-nuclear countries labelling nuclear and gas as sustainable translates into meeting the EU’s energy sector’s decarbonisation goals faster and without facing price volatility on the consumer end.

Earlier in September, for instance, Poland’s former Climate Minister Michał Kurtyka emphasised the importance of nuclear in greening Poland’s power system and called the energy source “an opportunity for the Polish industry”.

A bit later, former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade for Energy of the Czech Republic, René Neděla urged Brussels to recognise nuclear and gas as sustainable. He stressed that while renewable energy sources are key for energy transition for the EU, they “cannot produce a sufficient amount of the low-carbon electricity to cover neither the Czech Republic’s nor the European needs.”

Against this background, the upgraded Taxonomy will enable the Member States to move towards climate neutrality from different positions.

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