Despite being in the midst of a full-blown energy crisis, the European Union continues to focus on achieving its green energy and carbon emissions goals. Thankfully, they’re finally turning in a reasonable direction.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The European Union has proposed treating nuclear energy and natural-gas investments as similar to renewables over coming years in pursuit of a carbon-neutral economy, but the approach faces criticism from some of the bloc’s governments…
Europe needs massive investment to meet its 2050 target for a carbon-neutral economy. In 2019, the Commission estimated it would need between 175 billion euros to 250 billion euros—equivalent to $199.02 billion to $284.31 billion—in additional annual investment in coming decades to achieve the goal. Most of that will need to come from the private sector.
The EU hopes that by clearly classifying what counts as green investment and setting out stricter rules for what is required to achieve that, it will encourage investment in green projects, potentially lowering their funding costs relative to other energy plans.
The EU already relies heavily on natural gas to provide the energy that renewable sources can’t generate. But they’re in an increasingly difficult position as they import their natural gas from Russia, a country whose government won’t hesitate to leverage its natural resources for geopolitical gain. While the EU must realize that they can’t phase out natural gas entirely, it’s wise to find alternatives that can provide cheap, affordable energy.
Finally acknowledging that nuclear power is clean energy would be a huge step for the EU. The various nations within the block have vastly different approaches to the energy source with France embracing it and building on its already-high capacity and Germany continuing to actively shut down nuclear power plants, to the detriment of their carbon emissions reductions and consumer’s wallets.
With this step to recognize nuclear and natural gas as green energy, the EU would adopt an approach that others ought to emulate. Renewable energy is good, and we have made tremendous progress in its technology and deployment, but it is not yet able to support the world’s energy needs. Further development is necessary to make it more reliable and feasible (think battery technology) and for our lawmakers to ignore this is irresponsible and counterproductive for the environment.
We are already moving towards a cleaner future but we must adopt realistic approaches to reducing carbon emissions so that energy can remain affordable and reliable for consumers.