German and Austrian Greens should pay more attention to Greta Thunberg

Blogs   |  25.10. 2022

Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The energy crisis is one of the significant challenges Europe is facing today. Among the causes of the current situation is also a more complicated supply of natural gas resulting from the war in Ukraine. Unfortunately, even ordinary citizens are starting to feel the effects due to higher gas and electricity bills.

Only the nuclear remains

The European Green Deal originally envisaged the support of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and water, which were considered sustainable and long-term financeable investments. This so-called taxonomy was primarily intended to motivate investors to support such energy sources to replace coal or oil gradually.

However, the truth is that renewable sources account for only a little more than one-fifth of the electricity produced in all EU countries. And as you probably already know, the problem is that the sun is not always shining neither is the wind constantly blowing. This is the reason why we need, in any case, more “stable” sources providing some coverage for electricity production.

The good news is that at the beginning of this year, to the great satisfaction of the Czech Republic, France, and Poland, the European Commission partly spared nuclear and, for Germany’s sake, natural gas when it temporarily included those on the list of sustainable sources.

The bet on gas did not pay off for the EU

The Russian war in Ukraine has changed the overall situation because Europe is feeling the consequences of the conflict and the increase in gas prices. As it turns out, even gas will not be a reliable and, indeed, not a cheap source of energy.

Many people in the Czech Republic already know that the production costs of gas power plants shape the marginal price of electricity. Those so-called closing power plants are the most expensive source of electrical energy, which is needed to satisfy the total electricity demand when the sources are sorted by price. The cost of this “marginal resource” forms the price of energy. Simply put, gas is now the most expensive resource used for the electricity industry to meet 100% of all demand.

Issues with gas supplies, therefore, mean the end of the German dream for nuclear and coal, so-called stable but “dirty” sources to be replaced by gas power plants. The situation in Europe remains that in addition to renewable sources from cleaner sources, more plentiful and stable sources, we only have the core.

Coal over nuclear?

Despite that, Germany is not diverting too much from its original plan to close the remaining nuclear power plants by the end of the year and prefers to rely on coal in the case of outages. According to the latest information, it is only planned to extend the operation of two out of three reaming nuclear power plants until April 15 of next year.

Consequently, the Greens in Germany and Austria should probably listen more to Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. At least on this occasion, she undoubtedly takes a more sensible position than many Green politicians.

Already in March 2019, she defended nuclear power. She said that although she has a negative attitude towards nuclear energy, according to the IPCC, atomic energy belongs to the solutions that need to be used to reduce CO2 emissions. According to Swedish activist, climate defenders should not oppose nuclear power.

More recently, she has said that if the nuclear plants are already in operation, it would be a mistake to shut them down and switch to coal. Whether we like it or not, we just can’t do without nuclear now.

Crazy Greenpeace complaint

Even in this situation, fanatics will find themselves so blinded by their ideology that they refuse to include now indispensable nuclear power as a sustainable investment in the Green Deal taxonomy. And they don’t stop with words. They challenged the decision of the European Commission at the European Court of Justice!

In September, Greenpeace and other environmental organizations started legal action against the European Commission over the decision to include not only natural gas but also nuclear energy among green investments. Specifically, Greenpeace said it had asked for a review of the European Commission’s decision to classify nuclear power as a so-called green investment. There is said to be a risk of redirecting investments to fossil fuels instead of renewable energy sources.

The hypocritical attitude of the Austrian minister

It’s not just some green organizations. Austria also decided to take a similar step. With Luxembourg’s support, our southern neighbor turned to the European Court of Justice due to the temporary inclusion of nuclear and gas among green investments.

It is not really surprising. At the beginning of February, the Austrian Green Minister for Climate Protection Leonore Gewessler called the European Commission’s proposal to classify nuclear power as a sustainable resource a “greenwashing program” and accused the Commission of “primarily fulfilling the wishes of the nuclear lobby.” Not even the unprecedented energy crisis changed her attitude.

When domestic production does not cover own consumption

The Alpine state produces most of its energy from renewable sources. Austria even likes to brag about how 60% of its power comes from hydropower, whereas three-quarters of the energy produced comes from renewable sources.

However, domestic production is not wholly sufficient to cover all Austrian consumption needs. Therefore electricity must be imported from neighboring countries, including the Czech Republic, the second largest supplier of Austrian energy after Germany. Last year imported electricity accounted for 10.4% of Austrian consumption.

The Czechia delivered 10,917 GWh of the total 26,436 GWh of imported electricity, which is a share of more than 41%!

We can therefore claim that Austria also uses energy produced in Czech nuclear power plants. From a green Austrian minister, the real complaint is not only wholly nonsensical but very hypocritical, to say the least.

Ideology will not warm citizens

Irrational green ideology wins over common sense for some. It is even worse for Europe that this is even happening today when most of the continent has a severe problem with covering its energy consumption. Especially in the current energy crisis, this is an absolutely insane move by green organizations and politicians.

Who benefits from this? Only Russia, of course, with anti-nuclear organizations serving as useful idiots for the Kremlin. For Europe and its energy sector, complying with the mentioned complaints would be suicidal. Even the quoted Greta Thunberg questioned Germany’s plans to shut down nuclear power plants and, in fact, the complaints filed with the European Commission by Greenpeace and Austria.

The support for nuclear power must be a completely logical step in the current situation. This is especially true at a time when Putin can completely shut off our Russian gas taps. If they understand it in Germany, but also Austria and Luxembourg, it will be good for the whole of Europe. Ideology will not warm citizens. Greta knows that, doesn’t Habeck?

Source: Brussels Morning Newspaper