Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear power toxifies EU sustainable finance debate


Nuclear power toxifies EU sustainable finance debate EU28 ambassadors meet on Monday morning to see if they can come up with a compromise that can keep all sides happy   Mehreen Khan 16 Dec 19,

Agreeing on international climate deals is harder than it looks. Despite rising public pressure for policymakers to grapple with the challenge, marathon talks at the UN’s COP25 summit ended this weekend in failure.  In what was the world’s longest ever climate negotiation (14 consecutive days), international delegates in Madrid failed to agree rules for how rich and poorer countries should construct a new global carbon trading market. The FT’s Leslie Hook dissects how the summit came to an inconclusive end and why the EU and environmental NGOs are lamenting the outcome.
The EU, which was part of the negotiations in Madrid, will be discouraged by the rancour over carbon trading permits — especially as Brussels is drawing up contentious plans to force third countries to pay a price for carbon it exports to the bloc.
Away from the UN talks, EU governments will have to face down their own green divisions on Monday when they meet to discuss much-anticipated market rules on sustainable finance products. Despite hopes for a deal before the end of the year, France and eastern European capitals last week demanded the rules make explicit to investors that nuclear energy is part of the EU’s journey towards carbon neutrality.
EU28 ambassadors meet on Monday morning to see if they can come up with a compromise that can keep all sides happy. Austria and Luxembourg have led the charge against giving a green-stamp to nuclear, with Germany also resisting over concerns about the environmental impact of nuclear waste.  
While the EU has championed itself as a global leader in climate policy, Brussels has yet to prove whether it can “walk the talk” on green policy. The debate over the classification system (known as the “taxonomy”) is the new European Commission’s first real test.
 Energy policy is a fiercely protected part of governments’ national powers. Divisions were laid bare in a tense leaders’ summit last week where member states ultimately failed to convince Poland to sign up to the bloc’s 2050 net zero carbon target. But in a triumph for France and its eastern allies, the summit conclusions gave an explicit nod to nuclear as “part of the energy mix” in some countries.
Diplomats think the summit agreement on nuclear should pave the way for pro-nuclear countries to win the argument over the taxonomy. Even if they do, another battle with MEPs lies ahead. Should ambassadors get a compromise on Monday, it still has to be agreed by the European Parliament, which has insisted on its “no” to nuclear.  
Pascal Canfin, head of the EP’s environment committee and member of Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche, also held firm on the issue. He told the Brussels Briefing that EU governments should not “modify the balanced political compromise” agreed with MEPs earlier this month.  “All parties know that it is the only deal that could have been reached. That’s why I’m confident we will get a formal endorsement this week,” said Mr Canfin.

December 17, 2019 - Posted by | General News

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