Europe is fighting to meet carbon reduction targets while keeping the lights on. To start the new year off on the right foot, the European Union is considering a draft proposal that would designate nuclear and non-natural gas production facilities as green investments that will help countries reduce their carbon emissions, according to the report. New York Times.
A statement from the European Union last week said: “The Commission sees a role for natural gas and nuclear power as a means of facilitating the transition to a future mainly based on renewable energy”. A draft legal document circulating in Brussels qualifies gas and nuclear as “transitional” green energy sources that can be used to bridge clean energy technologies like wind and solar.
Is it a problem? Oh, you bet, bubbie. Defining gas and nuclear as a source of green energy will unlock billions of dollars in public and private investment. A trained economist will tell you that if you spend a dollar to buy a cupcake, that means you can’t spend the same dollar to buy a donut. Thus, the billions of dollars spent on building new nuclear and gas power plants represent money that will not be available to build wind and solar farms.
Then add this to the equation. New nuclear and thermal power plants have a nominal lifespan of 50 years or more. By the time these new facilities are written off, the oceans will have long closed over Manhattan, London and hundreds of other coastal cities around the world.
And it’s getting worse and worse. The “green energy source” label means that all of these investments can be legally included in the holdings of so-called ESG funds, allowing Wall Street profiteers to market them to unsophisticated investors as helping to ward off the scourge of climate change . It’s a lie, of course, but the trading world has never shied away from lying when it was good for the bottom line.
Bas Eickhout, a green lawmaker from the Netherlands, tells the New York Times that classifying natural gas as a green investment would mean that “the entire climate leadership of the European Union is adrift. It would also send the wrong signal to the world. If Europe starts calling for an investment in green gas, what exactly is the reason why the African Union is not fully embracing gas as well? He says the nuclear and gas debate has become “a proxy struggle” between national leaders for the future of energy in Europe.
“Overall, nuclear was not seen as ESG-compliant,” says Marisa Drew, Head of Sustainable Investing at Credit Suisse. But the EU’s approval would open “a potentially large wave of investment dollars.” Trillions of ESG money could find its way in this direction. The European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Advisory Platform concluded earlier this year that nuclear power plants pose risks of “significant damage” to the environment due to the radioactive waste they generate and concerns about the security of their storage, she said.
Tsvetelina Kuzmanova, sustainable finance expert and policy advisor at Brussels think tank E3G, says the proposal “calls for something not green, green” and warns that a number of countries are likely to be influenced by the final decision of the European Union. rule, creating a “race to the bottom”.
Nuclear power will play a fundamental role
This week, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said nuclear power will play a “fundamental role” in meeting Europe’s energy needs, according to a report by DW. “Existing nuclear power plants alone will need 50 billion euros of investment by 2030. And new generation plants will need 500 billion (586 billion dollars)!” he said in an interview with the French newspaper Sunday Newspaper. “This effort represents around 20 billion euros per year.
France is a strong supporter of nuclear energy. Germany and Austria are not. Nuclear advocates are telling people not to worry about this frightening nuclear waste because new nuclear facilities are expected to use cutting edge technology and operate on strict waste disposal plans. [Perhaps it could all be encased in concrete and dumped in the ocean! Out of sight, out of mind.]
A number of companies like Westinghouse and Rolls Royce are working on a new generation of small-scale modular nuclear reactors that can be assembled in factories and assembled on site at a fraction of the cost of the monstrously large nuclear power plants that were in favor before Chernobyl. , Three Mile Island and Fukushima have taken some of the blooming rose from nuclear power.
Companies envision these compact “nuclear nuclear” as a potential power source for factories, desalination plants or even cryptocurrency miners. If that happens, Marisa Drew says, “We’re not going to put this genius back in the box. And that’s the problem.
Instead of building bridges to the future, why not build the future? We humans are already the beneficiaries of nuclear power. We have a giant fusion reactor in the sky known as the Sun that will provide all of us with free, non-polluting energy for at least the next billion years. All we have to do is build solar and wind farms to harvest all this energy and use it for the good of mankind.
Natural gas is not natural. It’s a climate killer. Yes, it burns cleaner than coal, but that’s like saying Saddam Hussein was better than Attila The Hun. Taking it out of the ground and transporting it to where it’s needed creates huge amounts of methane emissions, and when burned, it still gives off clouds of carbon dioxide like any other fossil fuel. The argument is that nuclear and gas are what Eastern European countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria which still rely heavily on coal to generate their electricity really need to switch to a little cleaner future, and that’s kind of a good thing, so let’s do it.
But what is preventing these countries from taking the 500 billion euros that Thierry Breton talks about and putting them to work to build new economies based on clean, zero-emission energy – energy that has no associated waste disposal problems? Europe can only spend all this money once. When he is gone, he will be left with some very expensive stranded assets. And while the money will help some nations move beyond coal, why not switch to renewables and be done with it?
Could it be because all this nice money distorts the political process and allows self-interest to prevail over the best interests of society? No, no self-respecting company would throw humanity under the bus for a few dollars, right? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.
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