Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Commission has started consultations with experts and EU member states on pending sustainable finance rules, according to a statement released on Saturday.
Talks on the Taxonomy Complementary Delegated Act, which covers natural gas and nuclear power investment projects, are part of the EC’s plan to regulate the private sector towards a carbon neutral economy by 2050.
The plan is causing friction within the EU since member state energy mixes vary a lot, with some members heavily reliant on fossil fuels while others are already scrapping plants with high carbon emissions.
According to the EC, the new rules for energy projects will help EU member states move towards carbon neutrality regardless of how different their starting positions may be.
The Commission notes that the best scientific understanding suggests that natural gas and nuclear energy can play a role in the transition away from highly polluting forms of power generation.
Heavy regulation a must
It stressed that gas and nuclear should be heavily regulated insofar as they contribute to the green transition.
The EC cites the importance of transparency in this, maintaining that the new rules will help potential investors identify projects that rely on natural gas or nuclear energy and therefore enable them to make informed choices.
Regulation of natural gas and nuclear energy will be updated as technology advances, according to the EC, which also notes that the new rules are focused on accelerating the phase-out of highly polluting fossil fuels such as coal.
The group of experts and EU member states are to provide their feedback by 12 January. The EC will then analyse their responses in order to adopt the Taxonomy Complementary Delegated Act later this month.
The EU Parliament and the EU Council will have four months to provide their feedback on the new rules. Both bodies are allowed to request an additional two months to scrutinise the rules.
The Council will require a qualified majority if it wishes to oppose the new taxonomy rules, while the EP will need a simple majority. If both bodies support the EC’s new rules, the Taxonomy Complementary Delegated Act will enter into force.
The EC insists that its taxonomy proposal is scientifically based and that it should help investors to identify projects that will have positive effects on the environment.