GREEN VERSUS BLACK HEAT: ARE WE AT RISK OF COLOR BLINDNESS?
Climate and reduction of CO2 emissions have reached the very top of the agenda in most countries. People have taken on the responsibility, and therefore, the topic has received the highest political interest - and priority. If we are not careful, investments, political focus and peoples understanding will work against our climate goals.
By Lars Gullev, CEO at VEKS
gas” signals a product from nature, natural gas never becomes a green fuel.
In April 2021, the EU member states, and the European Parlia- ment agreed to reduce CO 2 emissions by 55% by 2030 com- pared to 1990 levels. Although it was a long, complicated pro- cess to agree on a common goal - a green EU - it was probably the most straightforward part.
Once the European Commission has classified nuclear pow- er and natural gas as green technologies/fuels, the rationale is that it is necessary to accept imperfect solutions for a tran- sitional period to achieve the goal of climate neutrality in the EU by 2050.
Now it’s getting tricky, and the subsequent discussions have already begun - can green be graded?
Others express that this is a case of greenwashing.
At first glance, one would not think it possible - but on 2 Febru- ary 2022, the EU has created serious, legitimate doubts about what is green and what is black. As part of the EU Action Plan for a Greener and Cleaner Econo- my, in line with the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Global Goals, the EU has phased in a new classification system (taxonomy) to ensure uniform identification of green and environmentally sustainable investments in the European market... The taxonomy classifies an economic activity as environmen- tally sustainable based on several criteria. The problem with the taxonomy is that most people now will feel great uncer- tainty and ambiguity about defining black or green fuels - and green technologies. The European Commission has now recognized both natural gas and nuclear power as greenish - and we have initiated a process in which the colors “green” and “black” are no longer unambiguous. Burning coal emits less CO 2 than burning lignite - but does it make coal a green fuel? Most people will probably think that coal is a “black fuel.” Burning oil emits less CO 2 than burning coal - but does it turn oil into a green fuel? Most people will probably think that oil is a “black fuel.”
But how did we end up here, where the traditional colors “black” and “green” now take on a different meaning?
One could imagine that several countries slowly realize that the transition from a fossil-based society to a green, sustaina- ble society is more complicated in the real world than in the political world.
Therefore, there is likely to be a compromise between the EU’s two heaviest players, France, and Germany.
With the dramatically rising prices of, i.e., natural gas, France has been quick to catch the ball - about 75% of France’s elec- tricity production comes from nuclear power. With the decision in Germany to phase out nuclear power - and thereby increase the dependence on natural gas - the Germans have been dependent on natural gas also “joining the pool.”
It is thus a traditional barter.
With the introduction of taxonomy, one has - overstating it a bit - gone from a science-based standard to a political norm.
A significant challenge will be that if you choose to invest your pension in green investments in the future, you risk that part of the money going to natural gas or nuclear power. Unless, of course, the pension fund states explicitly that the investment only makes for renewable energy sources.
Burning natural gas emits less CO 2 than burning oil - but does it make natural gas a green fuel? Although the word “natural
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