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Germany is exploring for alternate energy sources in the face of Russia’s gas problems, but is nuclear out of the question?

On Wednesday, the European Union opted to keep some specific uses of natural gas and nuclear energy in its taxonomy of sustainable energy sources.

Europe’s taxonomy is a classification system enabling investors, governments, and businesses to define “environmentally sustainable economic activity.” This official EU position is significant because it influences project funding as the region designs its course to combat climate change. According to the EU’s parliament, the taxonomy “aims to stimulate green investments and combat ‘greenwashing.'”

The vote on natural gas and nuclear energy follows one in February that amounted to a referendum on a particularly contentious aspect of the verdict. According to the US Energy Information Association, natural gas emits 58.5% more carbon dioxide than coal. Nuclear power produces no pollutants, however, it is criticized for the issue of radioactive waste storage.

While the region voted to maintain nuclear and natural gas in its green taxonomy, it did not grant those energy sources a free pass to be used in all situations.

According to European Climate Law, the EU must still reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by the end of the decade and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. However, Wednesday’s vote demonstrates that the EU intends to stimulate private investment in natural gas and nuclear power as the region transitions away from fossil fuels, particularly coal, toward renewable energy.



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