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Activists take legal steps against ‘green’ EU label for nuclear, gas

Environmentalists are taking legal steps against new EU rules that label future investments in nuclear power plants or gas infrastructure as climate friendly, according to a statement published on Monday.

Brussels, 19 September 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Environmentalists are taking legal steps against new EU rules that label future investments in nuclear power plants or gas infrastructure as climate friendly, according to a statement published on Monday.

A group of environmental organizations, including WWF, Greenpeace and Germany’s BUND, filed a motion asking the European Commission to review the rule and to ultimately withdraw it.

If the commission does not withdraw the legislation, the environmentalists plan to take the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

12 September 2022, Bavaria, Essenbach: Greenpeace activists project “Risky & unnecessary” on the cooling tower at the Isar 2 nuclear power plant. Photo: Armin Weigel/dpa

From January, gas and nuclear are to be included in the so-called taxonomy, which defines areas in which citizens and companies can invest money to combat climate change.

The move was approved by the European Parliament and EU capitals, despite criticism that burning gas produces climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2) and there is no definitive solution for storing radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

The environmentalists claim that the classification violates EU climate laws and contradicts the goals of the Paris climate agreement to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.

Some activists point out that gas prices are at the core of rising costs of living and promoting gas power would be contrary to the EU’s clean energy goals.

12 September 2022, Bavaria, Essenbach: Greenpeace activists project “Risky & unnecessary” on the cooling tower at the Isar 2 nuclear power plant. Photo: Armin Weigel/dpa

Criticism by environmental groups of the commission’s climate policies has been mounting in recent days.

Another group of activists filed a case at the ECJ on Friday challenging the climate-friendly classification of bioenergy and certain forestry projects, arguing the label would foster deforestation.

Last week, several non-governmental organizations withdrew from an advisory platform that had worked out the taxonomy together with the Commission.

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