Should nuclear and natural gas be counted as “green energy”? This is the question that European policymakers are grappling with at the moment, as the EU puts together a set of technical rules known as the “EU taxonomy”, classifying precisely what counts as a “sustainable” investment.

Germany’s environment minister has called the plans “absolutely wrong”. His country is in the process of phasing out the last of its nuclear power plants, though critics argue this has left Germany dependent on polluting coal, as well as natural gas imports from Russia.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Jessica on our German-language platform, saying:

As long as [Germany’s] traffic light coalition finally gets serious about climate protection, I’m happy. The plans look better than before, but I have my doubts whether the coal phase-out will really happen by 2030. Germany should definitely implement the Green Deal laws consistently!

We also had a comment from Tadeusz, who argues:

Germany is supporting the EU Green Deal targets and at the same time is making a deal with Russian Gazprom to build another natural gas pipeline (NORD STREAM2). We really need renewables but what we really need the most is European Solidarity!

To get a response for Jessica and Tadeusz, we put their comments to Dr. Franziska Brantner, a Member of the German Bundestag and Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Affairs & Climate Action. We put both questions to her during a Friends of Europe event on “Cutting emissions to drive sustainable growth: Can Germany lead by example in Europe?

For another perspective, we also put both comments to Dr. Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of the World Nuclear Association, to see how she would respond.

You can see the responses in the video at the top of this post.

Does Europe need natural gas and nuclear to transition to green energy? Will Germany phase out coal by 2030? Should Nord Stream 2 be cancelled? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Lukáš Lehotský on Unsplash
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

25 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Let It freeze, let it freeze…

  2. avatar

    The transition should be done but not that fast. If Russia shuts down gas how will we produce energy? the solar doesn’t work all year and neither does the wind. it will be beautiful.

  3. avatar

    Gas and nuclear IS green energy. 🙂
    Deal with it.

  4. avatar

    We are just cutting the branch of the tree we sit on by closing nuke stations, fighting cheap gas..
    “green”, “sustainable” and other marketing bs is not bringing us anywhere. Solar panels are dirty to produce and recycle and their lifespan is super short, same for windmills – we already have an issue in Europe where to store and how to recycle the one that we have (a huge amount).
    We should do things gradually, not just cutting off everything in the name of clean energy. .. there is no such thing like clean energy.
    Like Putin told in Berlin years ago: “what Europe will do, heating the houses with wood but for wood we would need to go to Siberia…”

  5. avatar

    You mean the same Europe that forced Bulgaria to close 4 reactors at Kozloduy NPP to get to the EU?

  6. avatar

    Not really if our industries would do an effort to reduce their energy consumption and we would waste less energy as a society by for example adding (more or better) isolation to our buildings. The “problem”: it isn’t really profitable for the big energy companies.

  7. avatar

    Such a frustrating question. Of course some cheap gas would be nice, it has always been, but the climate numbers do not care whether we ‘need’ it or not. The remaining carbon budget to avoid climate collapse is clear: at current rates we have less than 8 years to be carbon neutral. We have to stop thinking we have until 2050 or 2100 to transition. The transition has to happen now, or else. Ps this question reminds me of the movie “don’t look up”

  8. avatar

    There are many EU countries that can get energy from the sun. I live in Cyprus and it is illegal to have 100% solar energy for your house, even though it is totally doable. Also, there are hot countries, deserts etc that can create solar energy farms and sell solar energy batteries to other countries.

  9. avatar
    JT HK

    Natural gas and nuclear are required for the transition. When the plane approaching Urumchi in Xinjiang China, we can see many blue rooftops, they are solar panels. China has use ultra-high-voltage electricity transmission to send hydro power, wind power and solar electricity from the West to East region, and from the South to the North, etc. Europe might need new thinking to solve its energy problem and developing to green energy. Europe might need to join hand on green energy rather than to join hands in fighting wars. For example, Italy is trying to transmit electricity from solar energy from the Sahara. China has helped Morocco to build the world’s largest solar power project. It should be practical to transmit solar energy to Europe.

  10. avatar
    JT HK

    The current Russia Ukraine conflict is a strategy to end Russia oil and gas market share in Europe. If the US really wants to help its Europe allies and Ukraine, cut price of its oil and LFP gas rather than lending money and selling arms to Ukraine.

  11. avatar

    Yes we need more nuclear to go with renewables. We need to be more independent. Buying and relying on American gas is more expensive and is also not wise.

    • avatar
      JT HK

      The follow reported that China is testing to build in the desert a clean nuclear energy plant with thorium in the desert for it does not need water cooling and safer than uranium. It is better for Europe to stop waging war in Ukraine and put Europe in peace quickly. Furthermore, to resume the Europe China investment deal so that Europe can participation in doing the research on finding a new and saver energy:…/could-chinas-molten-salt-nuclear…

  12. avatar
    JT HK

    It is reported that the US deal is only about 10% (need to verify) of the total natural gas consumption. What is the price of this US gas when comparing with Europe gas? Do not find way to prolong the conflict in Ukraine. It serves Europe nothing good. It is destroying the social and economic recovery of Europe. Even worse, this conflict is leading to rapid investment flow out of Europe to the US and China. As Europe has stupidly stopped the Europe China investment deal, it appears that Chinese investment is obliged to flow to the ASEAN, Central and Southern Asia. How come elected representatives of the EU parliament lack such simple logic which we layman can think of ?

    • avatar

      they receive money from American donors, the same ones that bribe US politicians, that is the problem.

  13. avatar
    JT HK

    How much fuel needs to liquified US natural gas and how much fuel needs to transport these LPG across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe and reach consumer home? How much carbon dioxide has produced in this process? How much carbon dioxide Europe has indirectly produced to fuel the Russia and Ukraine military conflict? Isn’t this stupid?

  14. avatar
    JT HK

    Yes. However, how long we need to take in order to finish the transition? What efforts we are going to invest on green energy? Any blueprint leading to?

  15. avatar

    I would ask another question – Is the concept of transitioning to green energy nothing more than a PR stunt to keep people’s minds busy while “big business” goes on?

    • avatar

      yes, it is.

  16. avatar

    Those who think gas or nuclear should be part of a transition simply don’t understand principles of ecological sustainability, nor the urgency of the matter.

    • avatar

      I agree with your view!

  17. avatar

    Nuclear is reliable, cut the sh1t!

  18. avatar

    Mankind will not survive if we don’t fight hard to stop or control climate change that is getting worse from one decade to the next! Especially drought and fire are very dangerous!
    Solutions for these? They are too many and it is a very complex issue!
    First of all, environment specilists should take a lead and come with the long list solutions!
    In my opinion one of the first measures is to plant more forests and to have a change in the car market: electrical, H2 cars should take the lead on the roads.
    In hot areas fire prevention measures (a long list here) shall be imposed!

  19. avatar

    Transformation of EU’s #EnergyPolicy is long overdue. Heads in the sand (in fact: in the wallet) is not a very smart policy.
    But now even people who (un-understandably) believed that gassupply would resume should see the problem.
    Solving the problems we have calls for a coordinated EU-approach involving our excellent scientists and engineers. Industry in an advisory role, until there is a sound plan. Then industry takes over.
    I realise this looks like being too late. We are. But doing things without a good plan is bound to produce disaster.

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