10 reasons why the EU taxonomy might go from hall of fame to wall of shame

Posted on 24 November 2021

Billions of euros are at risk of being diverted into fossil fuels, nuclear energy and factory farming, worsening the climate and nature crises.
This is because the EU taxonomy - a classification of which economic sectors can be considered sustainable - is probably about to be greenwashed. Several Member States have been pushing hard for fossil gas and nuclear to be included in the taxonomy, despite the high emissions from fossil gas and the radioactive waste produced by nuclear power, for which there is no solution. The Commission risks bending to this pressure soon, with its taxonomy proposal expected any day now.
The consequences for the EU Green Deal, the EU’s sustainable finance leadership, and the climate and nature crises would be dire. 

If fossil gas, nuclear, and factory farming are included in the EU green taxonomy:
  1. The EU taxonomy would fly in the face of the IEA 1.5°C scenario.
The International Energy Agency finds that electricity must be 100% zero-emission by 2035 in the OECD  and by 2040 globally. This means phasing out all gas-fired power plants by those dates. 
  1. The EU taxonomy would undermine the EU 2030 climate target.
The Commission’s Impact Assessment finds that to meet its 55% climate target, the EU must cut its total fossil gas use by around 30% by 2030. Having gas in the green taxonomy would lead to more gas, not less.
  1. The EU taxonomy would be a step back compared to current market practice.
The global green bond market excludes fossil gas and nuclear.
  1. The EU taxonomy would be a step back compared to the EU green bond issuance.
The Commission made public that its own green bond issuance for the EU recovery package will include neither fossil fuels nor nuclear.
  1. The EU taxonomy would be a step back compared to the European Investment Bank’s policies.
The EIB does not support nuclear, and its 2019 Energy Lending Policy ruled out fossil gas: EIB President Hoyer made clear “gas is over”.
  1. The EU taxonomy would lag behind the Chinese taxonomy, which excludes fossil gas from electricity, and the South Korean taxonomy, which excludes nuclear power.
  1. Including gas would breach the Taxonomy Regulation on several counts - and as a consequence it is likely to be challenged in Court, as Austria made clear on nuclear.
  1. The EU taxonomy would undermine the EU- and US-led Global Methane Pledge launched at the COP26 to cut at least 30% methane emissions by 2030. More industrial livestock and more gas power would very likely mean more methane leakage.
  1. The EU taxonomy would be inconsistent with the COP26 pledge supported by 12 EU Member States and led by the UK to phase out international support for fossil fuels by 2022 (including FR, DE, IT, FI, SE, NL, SL, BE, DK, IE, PT, ES).
  1. The EU taxonomy would be inconsistent with the membership or support of six EU Member States to the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance that commits to phasing out of gas (including FR, SE, DK, IE + PT, IT).