Europe plans to say nuclear power and natural gas are green investments

Germany, on the other hand, as well as Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal and Denmark have expressed concerns about the build-up of nuclear power plants and the radioactive waste they produce.

“Different visions of the low-carbon transition have been on the political agenda,” said Alexander Lehmann, director of the Sustainable World Academy at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. “The costs of the transition are starting to weigh on people, so diametrically opposed energy policies have become clearer,” he said. “It brought key oppositions to light.”

The inclusion of nuclear and gas energy in Europe’s sustainable investment rulebook – known as green taxonomy – could have important implications at home and abroad.

In Europe, this would unlock billions of euros in state aid for costly nuclear energy projects. Banks and pension managers offering investments supporting environmental, social and governance causes – known as ESG funds – would have an easier time including nuclear energy and natural gas companies in investment funds. sustainability that they offer or in which they invest for their clients.

“Overall, nuclear was not seen as ESG-compliant,” said Marisa Drew, Head of Sustainable Investing at Credit Suisse. EU approval, however, would open “a potentially significant wave of investment dollars,” she said. “Billions of ESG money could find their way in this direction,” she added.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-chair of the Club of Rome and member of the panel that advised the European Commission on nuclear and natural gas, said neither of the two energy sources could be considered green.

The advisory body, known as the European Commission’s advisory platform on sustainable finance, concluded earlier this year that nuclear power plants pose risks of “significant damage” to the environment from radioactive waste they generate and concerns about the safety of their storage, she said. noted.

Mary I. Bruner