Anti-nuclear Austria seeks backing against EU green investment rules

Anti-nuclear Austria seeks backing against EU green investment rules

BERLIN, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Austria is seeking support from other European Union countries for its opposition to labelling investment in gas and nuclear power as “green”, its Environment Minister said on Monday.

Vienna on Friday pursued a pledge to file a legal challenge against the EU’s inclusion the energy sources on a list of climate friendly investments.

Luxembourg has already voiced its support for Austria and others may follow suit, Leonore Gewessler told a news briefing, without naming the countries.

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“I find it irresponsible and unreasonable,” she said about the EU’s decision. “We’re in talks with other EU governments who could join us as supporting parties in the proceedings.”

At issue is the EU’s so-called taxonomy, a rulebook defining which investments can be labelled climate friendly which is designed to guide investors towards green projects that will help achieve the bloc’s climate-emissions targets.

Gewessler said it was wrong to label gas, a fossil fuel, as a green energy investment and it was damaging for the credibility of the taxonomy rules. “Tying a green bow around polluting gas for electricity production is misleading.”

She also said fears over the fate of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine underscored the risks of atomic power.

The European Commission in February proposed a law that would add gas and nuclear power plants to the EU rulebook, enabling investors to label and market investments in them as green. The proposal had been delayed by more than a year amid intense lobbying from governments and industries.

By the time the law was finally approved by the European Parliament in July, it had exposed deep rifts between countries over how to fight climate change.

Environmental campaigners including Greenpeace launched separate legal challenges against the European Commission over the rules, which they said violated the EU’s own climate laws.

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Reporting by Matthias Williams and Rachel More, Editing by Miranda Murray and Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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