The European Commission has proposed plans
to label some gas and nuclear power as green, triggering criticism from
Germany. The proposal argued that gas and nuclear are key to helping transition
to cleaner power.

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Reacting to the European Commission’s proposal
Germany’s environment minister called the plan “absolutely wrong”.
The proposal came months after countries pledged to keep temperature rises
within 1.5C at the COP26 climate summit.

“It is necessary to recognise that the
fossil gas and nuclear energy sectors can contribute to the decarbonisation of
the Union’s economy,” the Commission’s proposal stated, reported AFP.

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The proposal considered only gas and
nuclear plants with the highest standards green. The EC proposal also said
nuclear plants would also have to have strict waste disposal plans, Deutsche
Welle reported. While gas plants would have a limit of how much carbon dioxide
is released per kilowatt-hour of energy produced.

The proposal will become law in 2023 if
a majority of EU members vote in favour of it. France had reportedly pushed for
nuclear power to be included.

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Fossil-reliant countries in the EU’s east
and south have also defended the use of natural gas, at least as a transitional
source, even though it still produces significant greenhouse emissions.

France’s 70 per cent of electricity comes
from nuclear energy, although the country pledged to cut it to half over the
next 15 years. France will shut down 12 nuclear reactors by 2035.

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The move has been criticised by Germany,
which is in the process of phasing out nuclear completely and only has a few
plants remaining. German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke described the
proposal as “wrong”, adding that nuclear energy could lead to
environmental disasters and large amounts of nuclear waste.

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Economy and Climate Protection Minister
Robert Habeck called the plan “greenwashing”, saying it “waters
down the good label for sustainability.”