The French President said back in December that he is in favour “nuclear power being integrated into the taxonomy” on green finance. The EU’s taxonomy is intended to hand a green badge to companies and activities — or to withhold it — to “help shift investments where they are most needed.” This is part of the bloc’s aim to direct funding towards energy sources with a low or zero carbon footprint, but it has sparked fury among a group of countries who say it is not a “green” source
As France derives around 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy, it is perhaps no surprise that it has been pressing the EU to classify nuclear as green.
Mr Macron has pointed to the opinions of experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who say that “nuclear power is one of the solutions to decarbonise our economies”.
He has said: “Our strategy is to decarbonise our economies. To do this, we need renewable energies.”
But he noted that renewables are “intermittent, and thus not totally substitutable, even with our interconnections [in Europe], for non-intermittent sources of electricity production” like gas or nuclear power.
And now, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has appeared to cave to pressure from France.
She has proposed to label fossil gas and nuclear power “transitional energies” in the EU’s green taxonomy.
The concession comes just days after France took on the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
But to carry out the plan, the bloc will need to invest €500billion (£416.58billion) in new nuclear energy facilities by 2050, according to EU commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton.
He said in an interview for French newspaper Journal du Dimanche: “Existing nuclear plants alone will need €50billion (£41.66billion) of investment from now until 2030.
“And new generation ones will need €500billion.
This, CAN said, will undermine the European climate target of reducing emissions by 55 percent by 2030.
The group added: “Nuclear power does not meet the principle of “do no harm” to the environment due to the significant risks surrounding waste and pollution.
“The extremely expensive and slow deployment – demonstrated by delays recorded on reactor construction sites across Europe – confirms that nuclear power can in no way constitute a “transitional energy” useful for achieving the 2030 climate objective.
“Fossil gas is a proven source of greenhouse gas emissions and its consumption should be reduced by 30 percent by 2030 to reach the European climate target.
“To consider it as useful for the transition is a dangerous misstep that would divert the European Union from its climate target.”