Platform Raises Red Flag on Taxonomy Proposal

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – The EU Platform on Sustainable Finance, a body of experts advising the European Commission on green finance, published on 24 January their official feedback on the draft Taxonomy proposal circulated by the Commission on the last day of 2021. “The overall assessment of the Platform is that the draft Complementary Delegated Act (CDA) activities are not in line with the Taxonomy Regulation and most members see a serious risk of undermining the sustainable Taxonomy framework,” state the experts. “Further, Platform members have doubts about how the draft criteria would work in practice and many are deeply concerned about the environmental impacts that may result.”

    The advisors criticise the proposal on several key points, including some major inconsistencies between the new Technical Screening Criteria (TSCs) and those already in force as well as the suggested measurement and verification requirements that they deem unsuitable and insufficient.

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    The experts have significant concerns about the technical criteria for awarding gas-fired power plants a ‘transitional’ investment label. According to the Platform, these criteria fall short of what is needed to ensure compliance with the EU climate law, which aims to bring emissions down to net-zero emissions by 2050. Even for the most efficient gas-fired power plants, the whole activity “is not green at any point in its life”, they warn.

    Another issue the EU advisers raise is that nuclear technology does not comply with the guiding ‘Do No Significant Harm’-principle of the Taxonomy. “The [proposed] criteria do not ensure no significant harm to other environmental objectives,” they write. The draft contradicts several of the original goals, including water protection, circular economy, pollution prevention, and biodiversity protection. The document demands “substantial changes” to the text in order to ensure that new nuclear power stations contribute to the EU’s climate targets.

    “The Platform has done its best to address the key concerns about the draft CDA in the short time available for review,” states the document. The experts also reveal that they are developing an extended Taxonomy with an intermediate (‘Amber’) performance category and an unsustainable category from which there must be an urgent and just transition. “Such an approach is necessary because the existing green Taxonomy was not intended to include every activity in the economy, in particular energy activities that must transition because emissions are currently too high or significant harm is present,” conclude the authors.

    Commenting on the conclusions of the Platform, one of its members, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome, says that the European Commission’s draft proposal “is at odds with the provisions of the Taxonomy Regulation on multiple counts”. “A red flag has been raised,” warns Dixson-Declèv.

    Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia has accumulated experience in asset management for more than 20 years in Stockholm and Beijing, in portfolio management, asset allocation, fund selection and risk management. In December 2020, she completed a program in Sustainability Studies at the University of Linköping. Julia speaks Mandarin, Bulgarian, Hindi, Russian, Swedish, Urdu and English. She holds a Master in Indology from Sofia University and has completed studies in Economics at both Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics.
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