Friday, February 23, 2024

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Natural Gas and Nuclear Energy Is Now “Green” in the EU

At the beginning of this year, the EU proposed labeling both natural gas and nuclear energy as “green” to bring in more investment. And on Wednesday, July 6th, that motion was passed and will go into effect in 2023.

As you can imagine, this has sparked a large amount of controversy from environmentalists.

The idea behind this move is that natural gas is a transitionary fuel that is needed as the world ends coal usage and transitions into renewables. Nuclear energy does not produce any emissions, but many still have security concerns about nuclear waste storage.

Critics of this move believe that furthering more investment into fossil fuels will prolong the lifespan of fossil fuels as a whole. Some have even gone as far as to label it as “Greenwashing.”

However, unless 20 nations in the EU decide to reject it, there’s no going back.

While the proposal came before the invasion of Ukraine, many believe the passage is a direct result.

How Did the Russian Invasion of Ukraine Influence This Decision?

Stop War

It’s no secret that the EU has been reliant on Russian oil for decades. This has put it in a precarious situation with the recent invasion.

After the invasion of Ukraine, the EU has made it clear it will work toward reducing Russian oil. However, to do such a thing is very difficult. It will require a huge amount of investment, and that’s exactly what this proposal allows.

This can help the EU improve infrastructure to allow oil to come from sources other than Russia.

Is There Any Merit to the EU Considering Natural Gas and Nuclear Energy as Green?

While there are many critics of this decision, the core idea behind this actually does have some merit. At least to a certain extent.

While there is no denying that natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, it’s not perfect. It is responsible for carbon and methane emissions that accelerate climate change, yet, it’s the best option available during the transitionary period.

Thus, calling it “Green” is a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that it has a place in the short-term future.

The main concern behind it is that it could trick people into thinking that it is actually a sustainable option. And to be perfectly clear, natural gas is not sustainable, and it does emit greenhouse gases. This could make it harder to eliminate in the future.

Of course, this proposal is not just about natural gas. Nuclear energy is also front and center.

While nuclear energy has been getting a lot of attention recently, as it actually is a carbonless energy solution that is extremely reliable. The main concerns associated with it are the storage of nuclear materials and if the plant fails.

While nuclear storage is handled quite well, and the failure rate of nuclear plants is absurdly low, many still cling to these issues. And in the EU, France is the largest user of nuclear energy. In fact, they are planning on expanding their capacity.

Overall, while nuclear energy is a clean source, natural gas is not. Labeling it as such is a mistake.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

2 thoughts on “Natural Gas and Nuclear Energy Is Now “Green” in the EU

  • Damn, that kinda sucks.

    The EU diversifying their energy needs totally makes sense economically, and this war in Ukraine certainly highlights the need for diversification. But calling natural gas – and even nuclear energy – “green” is a slap in the face. I don’t think the term “greenwashing” is too far off base here.

    It’s like words don’t have meaning anymore.

    Reply
    • Right? Though, you see that in a lot of industries, nowadays. Let’s classify something vaguely and incorrectly just so we can avoid repercussions. Good times. 🙂

      Reply

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