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EU likely to classify natural gas and nuclear as green energy, Commissioner says

EU likely to classify natural gas and nuclear as green energy, Commissioner says
Bloomberg, 19 December 2021

The European Union will likely include gas and nuclear power as sustainable green-energy investments in its proposed list to be unveiled in mid-January, a key commissioner said. 

Gas is not an “ideal” energy source but better than coal, the EU’s internal market chief Thierry Breton said in an interview published by Die Welt over the weekend. “If you don’t want nuclear power, you have to be pragmatic and not afford ideological doggedness.”

“Atomic energy and natural gas will help us meet our climate goals,” Breton said. “That is why we in the Commission are counting on presenting a taxonomy that includes nuclear power and natural gas.”

The EU is still debating its so-called “taxonomy” list laying out sustainable energy investments as the bloc pushes to meet its carbon ambitions by 2050. At a summit this week, EU leaders were divided on including gas and nuclear in the list, especially as countries face record-high energy costs.

This week, Breton also accused U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo of lobbying on behalf of Big Tech companies after she criticized the EU’s new tech rules as disproportionately affecting American companies.

“This is not something that we do against anybody,” Breton told the Financial Times. “We do it for our European fellow citizens and our companies. This is our duty.”

Breton said he has the phone numbers of all the major U.S.-based tech firms and they can call him to express their concerns: “We could discuss,” he said. “So we don’t need any extra lobbying.”

Breton spoke just days after he told the European Parliament that the joint U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council “was not particularly fruitful” at this stage in regulating Big Tech firms.