The European Commission has introduced a new legislative proposal to classify new nuclear energy and natural gas projects as climate-friendly and sustainable investments in member states on Wednesday.
The EU classification aims to channel private sector investments into activities necessary to achieve climate goals.
Accordingly, gas and nuclear projects that contribute to the achievement of Europe's climate targets and fulfill various conditions are included in the list of sustainable investments that will be up for consideration.
The proposal wants to classify nuclear power plant investments, which are licensed until 2045, and that use advanced technologies, are environmentally clean, and can dispose of their wastes safely, as green and sustainable economic activity.
Natural gas investments that received construction permits before the end of 2030, and which contributed to the transition from coal to renewable energy and emit less than 270 grams of carbon per kilowatt-hour are also up for classification as 'green investments'.
- EU divided in classifying nuclear, gas as green investment
However, some countries, environmentalists and various non-governmental organizations see the definition of nuclear and natural gas as sustainable and green as inconsistent with the EU's climate targets, describing it as 'greenwashing.'
Countries such as Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Denmark, Portugal and Spain are reacting harshly to the EU's definition of nuclear as climate and environmentally friendly.
Austria and Luxembourg announced their intention to initiate legal proceedings against the regulation in the European Court of Justice.
The Netherlands and Denmark also oppose the adoption of natural gas as a sustainable fuel.
About 10 countries, led by France, Poland and Hungary, demanded that nuclear energy be included in the green investment classification framework, claiming it is an effective, safe and competitive resource in the fight against climate change.
A group of countries, led by Germany, want natural gas to be considered sustainable in the EU’s investment classification rules for a while.
To reject the legislation in question, 20 member states, representing at least 65% of the Union's population in the EU Council, must oppose it.
Reporting by Ata Ufuk Seker in Brussels
Writing by Zeynep Beyza Kilic