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ENVIRONMENT

Denmark opposes EU green label for gas and nuclear

Denmark and Spain have reiterated their opposition to plans by the European Union to label gas and nuclear energy projects as green investments, an issue that has divided the bloc.

Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Spain's Premier Pedro Sanchez
Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Spain's Premier Pedro Sanchez speak at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on February 21st 2022. Photo: Paul White/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

The two nations believe such a move would send “the wrong message to investors and society as a whole”, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday told a joint news conference in Madrid with his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen.

The European Commission drafted plans late last year to label gas and nuclear energy as green investments, a move it hopes will steer huge sums of private capital into activities that support EU climate goals.

But Austria and Luxembourg have along with Spain and Denmark opposed the EU’s draft plans for a so-called “sustainable finance taxonomy”.

Heavyweight Germany opposes labelling nuclear power as sustainable, but not gas.

Sanchez and Frederiksen believe decisions about the new rulebook should have a “strictly scientific basis”, a “position shared by Austria and Luxembourg”. the Spanish government said in a statement after the two leaders met.

EU member states are awaiting the commission’s final proposal, which it has said it will publish soon, without giving a date.

Once published, a majority of the European Parliament or a super-majority of EU member states — 20 of the 27 countries — could block the rules.

It is unlikely that such a majority will be reached since a dozen nations including nuclear-reliant France back the new rulebook.

READ ALSO: Danish government changes stance on EU business equality quota

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WEATHER

Nature in Denmark’s coastal regions at risk due to rising sea levels: report

Rising sea levels will put plants and animals in coastal areas in 76 of Denmark's 98 municipalities at risk over the next 50 to 100 years, a new report has found.

Grassy bank by the beach in Blokus, Denmark.
Rare birds and plants found in many of Denmark's coastal areas could disappear if sea levels rise as predicted. Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash

A research team from Danish consulting group Cowi and the University of Southern Denmark studied how rises in seawater levels would affect nature along the country’s coasts over the next 50 and 100 years, Danish news service Ritzau reported.

“We are losing some coastal zones and these shallow coastal areas – also called salt marshes – in particular, will disappear,” said Torben Ebbensgaard, biologist and project manager at Cowi.

“These are breeding areas for large numbers of some very rare birds, amphibians and plants,” he said.

At least half of these salt marshes would disappear over the next 100 years taking the habitats of very rare birds and plants with them, he added.

And these rare animals would not be able to find somewhere else to live: “They have evolved to live in some very special habitats. A bird that is used to living on mussels and worms on the beach cannot just go to a wheat field,” Ebbensgaard explained.

More frequent storm surges were also expected to pose a threat to beaches, the report found.

Areas around the Limfjord, Mariager Fjord, Odense Fjord and Stege Bay could be affected by seawater rises over the next 100 years, the report found.

The report’s researchers found that, on average, water levels would rise 45 centimetres in 50 years and one metre over the next 100 years.

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