The European Union Calls Nuclear and Gas Energy “Sustainable Investments” — Really?!

Exhaust from a natural-gas power plant in Berlin. Credit: Sean Gallup—Getty Images

The so-called leaders of the European Union have yet again prioritized profit over any attempts at truly addressing the climate crisis. They are encouraging public and private sectors to invest in nuclear energy and gas power plants by labeling those investments as “transitional green” investments. The European Union’s commissioner for financial services said the legislation is “an important step,” specifically calling on private companies to invest in nuclear and gas energy as a “transition to a climate-neutral economy.”

This claim that investment and increased use of nuclear and gas-fired power helps us move to renewable technologies is false. Both nuclear and gas-fired energy require resource extraction. Nuclear energy requires the creation of radioactive waste which is typically buried under the ocean. Natural gas, which is mostly methane, is a strong greenhouse gas, which when burned, releases another greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, the main contributor to climate change.

This new legislation requires those nuclear and gas plants labeled “transitional green” investments to meet regulated conditions to properly dispose of radioactive waste, to undergo regular safety updates, and to replace coal facilities. However, the idea that funneling money into unsustainable efforts that are creating more carbon emissions as we face unprecedented draughts, other natural disasters, and tens of millions of climate refugees around the world is outrageous.

Those in power making these decisions are clearly protecting large, private corporations and the profits that come from energy production, instead of protecting our Earth and all of its inhabitants. What those so-called leaders don’t tell us is that private, profit-making companies won’t save us. They’ve created the climate crisis in the first place and continue to make it worse. Around the world, working people extract the resources and do the work to generate the energy we need – and it is in our interests to make energy production truly sustainable.