Several environmental organizations are taking the EU’s classification of gas and nuclear power as climate-friendly to court. Greenpeace, the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz (BUND) and the World Wild Fund (WWF) have filed lawsuits with other groups in the EU court against the so-called taxonomy, as the associations announced on Tuesday. This is a kind of seal of approval for sustainable financial products: The European Union lists areas in which investments can be made to combat climate change.

The plaintiffs accuse the EU Commission of “greenwashing”, i.e. labeling something as climate-friendly, even though it may not be. On Tuesday, the groups wanted to protest the EU’s climate policy with banners in front of the Court of Justice.

“The EU Commission must not disguise the problem as a solution. Nuclear and gas cannot be sustainable,” said Nina Treu, Managing Director of Greenpeace Germany. While Greenpeace wants to take action against the green label for nuclear and gas, other groups are specifically targeting the classification of gas. “With the decision to classify fossil natural gas as climate-friendly, the EU Commission has stepped on very thin ice, both factually and legally,” said BUND chairman Olaf Bandt.

Since the beginning of January, investments in gas or nuclear power plants have also been classified as climate-friendly. Since then, this has caused discussions and criticism, since the burning of gas emits climate-damaging CO2 and the use of nuclear energy produces radioactive waste. Austria and Luxembourg are also taking legal action against the EU taxonomy. Other EU countries were also critical of the project.

Paris sees nuclear power as a key technology

Last year, a decision was made to classify electricity production with solar panels, hydroelectric power or wind power as climate-friendly. In addition, criteria have been defined for numerous other economic sectors. Under pressure from some member states, the EU Commission responsible for legislative proposals proposed at the end of last year that investments in gas and nuclear power plants should also be considered climate-friendly under certain conditions.

France, which sees nuclear power as a key technology for a CO2-free economy and would like to continue exporting the technology to other countries, played a decisive role in this. In return, Germany advocated a green label for gas as a transitional technology.

Now the court of the EU must decide whether the classification of nuclear power and gas as climate-friendly is justified. The oral hearing is expected for next year. However, a verdict is not expected before 2025.