Commission to Drop Natural Gas and Nuclear Power from Taxonomy

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – According to leaked official communication, the European Commission will exclude natural gas and nuclear power from the first EU Taxonomy delegated act (DA) due on April 21st.

    The decision follows severe backlash against what was perceived as a substantially watered-down version of the DA leaked at the end of March by members of the Platform for Sustainable Finance, an expert group advising EU institutions on these reforms.

    The experts were adamant. “If the leaked text for these sectors were adopted, the Taxonomy would become a greenwashing tool instead of being the gold standard in the fight against greenwashing that it was promised to be,” their open letter to the Commission warned. “Its rollout would be even more harmful to investors than the current situation, as they would reasonably expect the taxonomy to have set high standards of sustainability.”

    Following the initial pushback, Nathan Fabian, the Platform’s chair wrote to the European Commission at the end of last week warning the EU executive against surrendering to lobbying pressures. “Deviating from environmentally sound parameters within the taxonomy, by stretching the current taxonomy framework beyond scientific rigour, introduces substantial risks to its intended purpose and to the credibility of the project overall,” the letter said according to Reuters.

    This week, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) sent an open letter to the European Commission, warning that “any inclusion of natural gas without abatement within the taxonomy would frustrate the efforts of investors seeking to drive the decarbonisation of emissions-intensive sectors and align investors’ portfolios with net zero emissions.”

    According to the leaked documents published by Euractiv, “the preparatory phase leading up to the adoption of the delegated act has highlighted different opinions expressed by MEPs, member states and stakeholders as regards to the potential inclusion in the taxonomy delegated act of natural gas and related technologies, notably as a transitional activity facilitating the switch from coal and oil to renewables. A similar level public interest and debate surrounding the question of the inclusion of nuclear technology in taxonomy delegated acts is taking place.”

    Instead, the two issues will now be addressed separately at the end of 2021. “In this light and given the legal constraints of the EU Taxonomy Regulation, the Commission intends to put forward a separate legislative proposal in Q4 2021, specifically covering how certain economic activities, primarily in the energy sector, contribute to decarbonisation,” the leaked document says.


    Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe is an economist with 8 years of experience in macroeconomic and financial analysis for the Economist Intelligence Unit, the UN World Institute for Development Economic Research, the Stockholm School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Filipe holds a MSc in European Political Economy from the LSE and a MSc in Economics from the University of London, where he currently is a PhD candidate.

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