Since yesterday evening, it is certain that the new EU rules for sustainable investments (EU Taxonomy) can enter into force on 1 January 2022. Until yesterday, a so-called reinforced qualified majority of 20 of the 27 member states could have rejected the proposal for the decisive delegated act of the EU Commission in the Council of Ministers. France and several Eastern European states in particular had tried to get the proposal rejected. This would have considerably delayed the entry into force of the Taxonomy rules. The central point of contention was nuclear and gas power, although these are not dealt with in the current legal act. Whether nuclear power and gas should be classified as sustainable investments is thus still open. The EU Commission has announced that it will submit an additional proposal by 22 December. The criteria in the delegated act define under which conditions investments are compatible with the Paris Climate Agreement and the environmental goals of the European Union. In the future, the Taxonomy will be mandatory when companies report on sustainability matters or launch green financial products. The new rules, which can now enter into force, define the sustainability criteria for a wide range of economic sectors. The delegated act specifies in detail the conditions under which, for example, the production of steel, cement and other building materials, forestry, water supply, transport, communication or the generation of energy can make a significant contribution to climate mitigation or adaptation. Furthermore, red lines are defined for all sectors in order to exclude damage to biodiversity, water systems or the transition to a circular economy as well as environmental pollution.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“The introduction of the EU Taxonomy is a milestone for greener financial markets in Europe. The EU Taxonomy will ensure that in the future, green financial products really finance green investments. It will put a stop to greenwashing in financial markets. The EU Taxonomy will channel money into urgently needed investments for the future. It must now be used in a pragmatic and unbureaucratic way in order to take effect quickly. The introduction of the EU Taxonomy is a great success for us Greens, forward-looking businesses and civil society who have been campaigning for it for years. But it is also clear that the credibility of the EU Taxonomy is crucial for its success. Fossil gas and nuclear power have no place in the EU Taxonomy. Nuclear power and fossil gas are neither ecologically nor economically sustainable in the long term. We are counting on a compromise that respects the sovereignty of the member states for their energy mix and at the same time does not damage the credibility of the EU Taxonomy.”
My assessment of the first delegated act of the EU Commission:
Open letter by 250+ Sustainable Finance professionals for credible Taxonomy rules:
My petition “Meltdown for Europe’s energy transition: Stop the greenwashing of nuclear power and gas!“ with more than 65,000 signatories:
My petition “Save the European Green Deal!” with almost 70,000 signatories: