The draft text by the European Commision on Taxonomy covering gas and nuclear activities (1 Jan 2022) baffled me when I saw it. I thought I would wait for other comments to check I hadn’t missed anything.
Well the other comments have generally been trenchant in their criticism. I hadn’t missed the point.
The paper recognises some parts of Europe are still heavily based on high carbon emitting coal. One might ask, in 2022, why the EC hasn’t done more to reduce coal in the power mix in the EU, when some countries have?
This then leads to the statement that there is a role for natural gas and nuclear in the path to net zero.
Well nuclear is zero carbon, but gas!!! Gas power plants have a life of 30 to 40 years so promoting gas investment until 2035, will mean that gas has a major role until 2065 to 2075 in the EU. How does this reconcile with net zero by 2050? The simple answer is it doesn’t.
I pondered how this decision came about, was it great lobbying by the gas industry? Was it the result of a very good lunch at Scheltema? But then the coincidence with the end of nuclear power in Germany this month made it clear.
Germany had lobbied to remove nuclear as a net zero fuel source, presumably based on national interest. Given the stranglehold which the greens have on power in Germany, there won’t be any nuclear there for the foreseeable future. (All this with France – down wind of Germany – dominated by nuclear power!)
Without nuclear in its power mix, Germany can only reduce emissions from coal by switching to gas and or renewables. Clearly it has decided to transition to net zero over a longer period than to 2050 (now 28 years away) through gas as well as renewables.
So next time you read the glossy aspirations of the EC about net zero,remember how little has been achieved in removing coal in many EU countries, how gas will continue to be a major source and benefit from NEW investment.
Will the EU reach its net zero targets by 2050 given this road map? Of course not.
So,the taxonomy on gas is a consultation. There is a chance to remove gas. If it isn’t removed, it will say a lot about the reality of the EU achieving net zero by 2050….or not.
Watch this space.