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Fake Green Taxonomy Act must be rejected by EU Parliament

After the European Commission adopted a delegated act on EU Taxonomy, WWF calls on the EU Parliament and Council to reject it.

The European Commission has today bowed to pressure from France and others (1), by publishing a set of sustainable finance rules which will do huge damage to the EU and global environmental action. The Commission officially classifies fossil gas and nuclear power as environmentally sustainable under the EU Taxonomy - the EU’s “green” investment guidebook - despite the fact that fossil gas generates huge emissions, and nuclear power creates highly radioactive waste which we still do not know how to handle. 

This creates a benchmark that lags behind the existing green bond market, which excludes gas and nuclear, and risks directing billions of euros towards these harmful industries. Only last week, the European Commission’s scientific advisers on the Taxonomy slammed the Commission’s proposal, saying that it was “not in line with the Taxonomy Regulation,” and posed a “serious risk of undermining the sustainable Taxonomy framework”.

The Commission’s proposal is meant to flesh out the details of the robust EU Taxonomy regulation, whose Article 19 requires the Taxonomy criteria to be built on science, not give special treatment to certain technologies, and be easily verifiable. However, the new gas and nuclear criteria violate each of these requirements and are thus inconsistent with the regulation.  WWF calls on the EU Parliament and Council, which each have a yes/no vote on the proposal, to reject it.

Ester Asin, Director of WWF European Policy Office, said: “The huge pressure by some European governments’ pet industries has led to this proposal.  The Act adopted by the Commission today would rig Europe’s financial system against the planet. They must think again and keep gas and nuclear out of the Taxonomy”. 

France has been pushing for months to have nuclear power included as sustainable in the EU Taxonomy. In exchange for the support of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and more on nuclear energy, the French government agreed to proactively support a scientifically baseless inclusion of fossil gas. Germany supports the inclusion of gas but opposes nuclear.

On the side of scientific evidence stood Spain, which opposed the inclusion of both gas and nuclear, while a group of Member States like Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Portugal oppose nuclear. The Austrian government has promised to present a legal challenge to any Act that contains nuclear power. While some Member States were involved in drafting the proposal, the European Parliament - and citizens - were completely excluded from the process.

"The European Commission has embarked on a dangerous process of incrimination with European governments. The final criteria for fossil gas and nuclear power are even worse than in the draft, and this act must be rejected if we want to protect the credibility of the entire EU taxonomy. At a time when the whole world is facing the problem of climate change, investing in nuclear energy, advocated by Slovenia, or fossil energy, advocated by Croatia, is absolutely problematic! No financial institution should use this act to make decisions on green financing, as they would expose themselves to the risks of fraudulent greenwashing, reputation damage, unusable assets and legal complications, ” says Nataša Kalauz, CEO of WWF Adria.

Many investors and banks have already made it clear they do not support a greenwashed Taxonomy - a system that was explicitly designed to identify green economic  activities in a clear and transparent manner for investors.



Notes:

(1) France has led a coalition of European governments in laying the groundwork for a ‘gas-for-nuclear swap’ in a deal dubbed the ‘French proposal’.

France, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia have advocated in favour of nuclear power’s inclusion in the EU Taxonomy. 

Poland, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, Malta, and Slovakia, and Italy have openly advocated in favour of the inclusion of fossil gas in the Taxonomy.
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