Shortly before the deadline, the federal government commented on the EU Commission’s plans to classify nuclear power and gas as “sustainable”. When it comes to nuclear power, it’s a resounding no. The coalition regards gas as a “bridging technology”.
The federal government struggled to get Germany’s position on the EU Commission’s plans to classify fossil gas as “sustainable”. Now there seems to be a result.
Accordingly, she is clearly opposed to the EU Commission classifying nuclear power as “sustainable”, but supports a corresponding classification of gas as a bridge solution. This emerges from the German statement on the so-called taxonomy, which was sent to Brussels. “From the point of view of the federal government, nuclear energy is not sustainable,” says the letter, quoted by the dpa news agency.
Serious accidents endangering people and the environment cannot be ruled out. In addition, nuclear energy is expensive and the final storage issue has not been resolved. “The longer nuclear power plants run, the bigger the problem of nuclear waste becomes,” argues the federal government. Overall, there are legal concerns: it is doubtful whether the inclusion of nuclear energy is compatible with the requirements of the Taxonomy Ordinance.
Realistic values must be set for the bridging technology of natural gas so that the expansion of a gas energy system based on renewable energy sources is not hindered in the medium to long term.
Most EU countries welcome the Commission’s plans
The statement comes a few hours before the deadline – Germany and the 26 other EU member states can still comment on the Commission’s proposal until midnight. It stipulates that gas and nuclear power plants can be classified as “green” investments under certain conditions. The “taxonomy” defines which areas of the economy are considered climate-friendly. The Commission wants to turn the draft into an official so-called delegated act – and thus initiate the next step towards implementation.
According to research by the dpa, at least eleven member states, including France, Poland and Hungary, expressly support the plans. Only a few countries, such as Austria, Spain and Denmark, reject the planned classifications. Austria and Luxembourg are even considering taking legal action against it.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Environment Minister Steffi Lemke told the dpa: “As the federal government, we have once again clearly expressed our rejection of the inclusion of nuclear energy.” It is risky and expensive, and there are also legal concerns.
When it comes to gas, Germany sets conditions
In the gas sector, more precise information was given to the Commission. From the Federal Government’s point of view, separate limit values are needed for district heating networks and the replacement of old gas-fired power plants with new ones. “Should the delegated legal act remain unchanged and the Commission ignore the critical opinions of a number of member states, including ours, Germany should, in our opinion, reject it,” stressed the two Greens ministers.
In the long term, the federal government writes, the use of natural gas is not sustainable either. However, fossil gas in ultra-modern and efficient gas-fired power plants forms a bridge for a transitional period to enable a faster phase-out of coal and save CO2 in the short term.
For a long time there had been no agreement in the federal government on Germany’s position on classifying gas as a “sustainable” investment. Environmental groups had called on the federal government to resolutely reject the EU plans for both gas and nuclear power. Among other things, they fear that the classification will result in “wrong incentives” and disadvantages for renewable energies.
But stopping the plans could be difficult: A spokesman for the EU Commission explained that the Brussels authority would study feedback from EU countries and officially accept the proposal “as soon as possible”. Only a majority of at least 20 states or members of the European Parliament could slow him down – which is currently not apparent.