Briefings, Reports

Mapping out a way through the taxonomy crisis

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The European Parliament Room (debating chamber) on July 30, 2014 in Brussels.
The European Parliament Room (debating chamber) on July 30, 2014 in Brussels. Photo by VanderWolf Images on Adobe.

The European Commission’s proposals to label fossil gas and nuclear power generation have triggered a taxonomy crisis. Describing these activities as ‘sustainable’ for investment purposes is not acceptable to private sector investors. It also damages Europe’s reputation and climate leadership.

There is potential to modify the current proposal to achieve an acceptable outcome. However, if agreement on suitable modification cannot be achieved then Member States or Parliament should veto the proposed Delegated Act.

Given the extent of the concerns raised and the high risk of harming the EU’s climate credibility, it is clear that the current proposal should not go forward as it stands. The different options are as follows:

  1. The best option at this point would be for the Commission to withdraw the Delegated Act. To minimise loss of face, Europe could use this moment to demonstrate its international climate leadership.
  2. Failing withdrawal, the Commission and Member States should urgently explore options to revise the draft Delegated Act. The official process for finalising a Delegated Act offers little opportunity for textual amendment at this stage, meaning that this option will be fraught with risks and difficulties. We have outlined options to achieve ‘Acceptable’ and ‘Minimum Viable’ outcomes through amendment.
  3. If the above options fail, then we recommend that either Member States or Parliamentarians veto the draft Delegated Act. This would buy time for more thoughtful resolution of the underlying issues. It would also avoid a prolonged legal battle between the Commission and Member States.

This briefing sets out the taxonomy crisis at hand and the hierarchy of possible outcomes from the process, ordered by the level to which they address scientific integrity and stakeholder concerns.

Read the briefing in full here.

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