The European Commission said it has decided to include national gas and nuclear energy plants as “sustainable investment” if they can meet certain targets, according to BBC.

  • Gas and nuclear are the bridge technologies that can help the European Union meet its net zero emissions target by 2050.
  • “The reason we are including gas and nuclear in the way we are doing it is because we firmly believe that this recognises the need for these energy sources in transition,” EU commissioner for financial services, Mairead McGuinness, said, per The Guardian.

The change will make it easier for gas plants to earn green investment labels, according to Reuters. These plants will have to meet emissions and progressively burn low-carbon gases starting in 2026, switching to 100% low-carbon gas by 2035, according to Reuters.

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This decision has divided the European Union

Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer responded to the news by saying “nuclear power is neither green nor sustainable.”

  • “I cannot understand the decision of the EU,” Nehammer said, per BBC, adding that he will back his environment minister in pursing legal action if these plans are followed through. Luxemburg will possibly be joining this action.

“The European Commission is significantly undermining the EU’s credibility as a climate actor,” Bas Eickhout, a Dutch Green MEP and vice-chair of the European parliament’s environment committee, said, per The Guardian.

  • “At the UN climate summit in Glasgow, small steps were taken toward phasing out fossil fuels. Yet, unfortunately, the commission is already turning back the clock and leaving the door open to the gas industry.”

Nuclear supporting nations like France support the decision because nuclear energy releases fewer carbon emissions but poses different safety concerns. Countries that rely on coal, like Poland, will have some incentive to move to a cleaner source of energy.

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In order to block the commission's proposed plans, at least 20 of the 27 national leaders will be needed.

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