Nuclear Politics

Europe / Foratom Calls For Clarity On Commission’s ‘Fit For 55’ Emissions Policies

By David Dalton
14 July 2021

Nuclear has key role and is ‘cheapest source of electricity’, says industry group
Foratom Calls For Clarity On Commission’s ‘Fit For 55’ Emissions Policies
The Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom has welcomed a package of emissions-related policies published by the European commission on Wednesday, but has called for clarification on how the transition will be financed and whether there will be enough low-carbon energy to meet the bloc’s needs.

Foratom questioned how the commission can ensure that industries are able to decarbonise their manufacturing processes whilst remaining competitive and how potential social impact such as job losses and energy poverty can be mitigated.

The group said it supports all proposals which aim to reduce CO2 emissions in line with European climate law and the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change which entered into force in 2016.

The group said it supports all proposals which aim to reduce CO2 emissions in line with European climate law and the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change which entered into force in 2016.

It said the bar has been set high because the package, dubbed “Fit for 55” because it includes policies for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, will apply to a wide range of sectors including industry, buildings and transport.

“Achieving this target will not be easy – many aspects need to be taken into consideration to ensure that, in the race to decarbonisation, other problems do not arise”, Foratom director-general Yves Desbazeille said.

Mr Desbazeille said nuclear has a key role to play in any transition, together with other low-carbon technologies. “Nuclear is a low-carbon source of energy, thus helping European achieve its decarbonisation targets. It is affordable and available 24/7, two key attributes when it comes to finding competitive solutions for energy-intensive industries in Europe”.

Mr Desbazeille said the nuclear sector remains committed to working with the EU and supporting technology neutral policies which will help achieve the bloc’s ambitious goals. The long-term operation of nuclear power plants remains “the cheapest source of electricity across the board”.

Prolonging the existing fleet would be the best way of achieving the 2030 targets in an affordable manner,” Mr Desbazeille said.

The package of measures will face many months of negotiations between the European parliament and heads of the 27 member states.

The measures are among the most ambitious, aiming to more than halve emissions in the medium-term (by the end of the decade) rather than looking ahead to 2040, 2050 or even further to meet decarbonisation targets. By 2019, the EU had cut its emissions by 24% from 1990 levels.

Announcing the measures on Wednesday, the commission said achieving emission reductions in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. “With today's proposals, the commission is presenting the legislative tools to deliver on the targets agreed in the European climate law and fundamentally transform our economy and society for a fair, green and prosperous future,” it said.

The Fit for 55 proposals combine the application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU emissions trading system (ETS). They call for increased use of renewable energy, greater energy efficiency, a faster roll-out of low-emission transport modes, revised taxation policies, measures to prevent carbon leakage and tools to preserve and grow natural carbon sinks.

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