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Time Magazine 31st January 2022 Double Issue

Can natural gas—a fossil fuel that emits 50% less carbon dioxide than coal, but still contributes to global warming—help us achieve a transition to green energy? The question has long divided policymakers, but the debate is now coming to a head in Europe.

After years of delays, the E.U. wants to finalize its green “taxonomy”—an official list of investments the bloc classifies as sustainable for the planet—by the end of January. The taxonomy aims to help Europe’s private sector, which is trying to overhaul spending to meet recent environmental pledges, move its money to the right places. A draft version, sent to member states on Dec. 31, says natural-gas projects should count as green under certain conditions; natural gas is labeled as a “transitional fuel,” and investments in it will count as green if power plants produce emissions below 270 g of CO₂ equivalent per kilowatt-hour. Any new natural-gas project must also replace a more polluting fossilfuel plant, receive a construction permit by Dec. 31, 2030, and be equipped to transition to lowercarbon gas by 2035.

The technical document has become a political battleground for warring visions over the future, as the E.U. aims to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 55% by 2030 to stay on track to avoid the worst of climate change. And it has divided the E.U.’s two largest economies: Germany’s government has said the draft taxonomy amounts to “greenwashing,” while France has backed it, largely because it includes nuclear energy, the country’s main energy source. (The taxonomy’s inclusion of nuclear power , which does not emit greenhouse gases but carries other environmental risks, as a green investment has also proved controversial.) Time Magazine 31st January 2022 Double Issue


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