Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission published its final draft of the Delegated Act to the EU Taxonomy Regulation, which seeks to list gas and nuclear projects as potential sustainable investments. This decision disregards the objectives of the Green Deal in the fight against the climate emergency and ignores the resounding rejection of the platform by European financial experts, who just a few days ago strongly reiterated their rejection of gas and nuclear projects in the EU taxonomy.
Classifying gas and nuclear energy as sustainable investments means ridiculing the Green Deal with a shameful greenwashing operation. It significantly undermines the EU’s credibility as a climate actor and as a leading market for sustainable finance. Furthermore, it sends a wrong and confusing message to investors by permitting new investments in fossil fuels until 2030, with devastating consequences for the target of the Paris Agreement, regardless of the IEA and the IPCC having reiterated the need to stop investing in fossil fuels.
This is a short-sighted choice, one the Commission itself defines as imperfect. However, being worse than the previous draft, it is actually more than imperfect, since it has eliminated the intermediate targets on gas investments and ignored the recommendations of European financial experts. As for the financial discourse, it deserves separate consideration.
This decision defeats the purpose of the paths already taken, if, for example, we consider the green bonds issued by the Commission to repay the Recovery Fund, which, in fact, do not include gas and nuclear. Moreover, the risk of reducing European green bonds to among the worst in the world now becomes a concrete reality, all the more so when we consider that Russian green bonds exclude gas, and that even French green bonds currently exclude investments in nuclear power!
In the circumstances, statements by the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, who has no intention of financing nuclear energy, should have given pause for thought.
Nuclear power cannot be classed as sustainable when a safe solution to the problem of nuclear waste remains little more than a pipe dream.
This decision comes at the end of a process marked by its lack of transparency. The draft, in fact, was not sent out to European governments until 23.00 hours on 31 December, 2021. More seriously, contrary to what had been done with the previous Taxonomy draft, the Commission did not open it to public consultation. So citizens, associations, NGOs and stakeholders were denied their rightful opportunity to participate fully in the process. This sets a very serious precedent for the entire democratic system of the EU.
Now, more than ever, our position remains firm and we will give battle in the EU Parliament. We have a maximum of six months to reject this delegated act in order to reaffirm that the market must be orientated towards renewables and the circular economy, in keeping with our idea of what Europe should mean by sustainability in the fight against climate crisis. Opting for nuclear and gas because investing in renewables requires effort is simply absurd. Our future depends on renewable energies, and that is not a game, certainly not one that we can afford to lose.