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Commission presents Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act

The European Commission has today presented a Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act on climate change mitigation and adaptation covering certain gas and nuclear activities. The College of Commissioners reached a political agreement on the text, which will be formally adopted once translations are available in all EU languages.

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The EU Taxonomy aims to guide private investment to activities that are needed to achieve climate neutrality. The Taxonomy classification does not determine whether a certain technology will or will not be part of Member State energy mixes. The objective is to step up the transition, by drawing on all possible solutions to help us reach our climate goals.

According to a statement, the Commission “taking account of scientific advice and current technological progress” considers that there is “a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the transition. The gas and nuclear activities selected are in line with the EU’s climate and environmental objectives and will allow us to accelerate the shift from more polluting activities, such as coal generation, towards a climate-neutral future, mostly based on renewable energy sources.”

“The EU is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and we need to use all the tools at our disposal to get there. Stepping up private investment in the transition is key to reaching our climate goals. Today we are setting out strict conditions to help mobilize finance to support this transition, away from more harmful energy sources like coal. And we are boosting market transparency so that investors will be able to easily identify gas and nuclear activities in any investment decisions,” said Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner in charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability, and Capital Markets Union (photo courtesy EC – Audiovisual Service).

Additional economic activities

In particular, today’s Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act introduces additional economic activities from the energy sector into the EU Taxonomy. The text sets out clear and strict conditions, under Article 10(2) of the Taxonomy Regulation, subject to which certain nuclear and gas activities can be added as transitional activities to those already covered by the first Delegated Act on climate mitigation and adaptation, applicable since January 1, 2022.

These “stringent conditions” are: for both gas and nuclear, that they “contribute to the transition to climate neutrality; for nuclear, that it fulfills nuclear and environmental safety requirements; and for gas, that it contributes to the transition from coal to renewables.”

More specific additional conditions apply for all the above activities and are specified in today’s Complementary Delegated Act.

The Complementary Climate Delegated Act also introduces specific disclosure requirements for businesses related to their activities in the gas and nuclear energy sectors. To ensure transparency, the Commission has today amended the Taxonomy Disclosures Delegated Act, so that investors can identify which investment opportunities include gas or nuclear activities and make informed choices.

According to the Commission, the text of the Complementary Delegated Act follows expert consultations with the Member States Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, the Platform on Sustainable Finance, and feedback from the European Parliament.

Our mission and obligation is climate neutrality. We need to act now if we are to meet our 2030 and 2050 targets. Today’s Delegated Act is about accompanying the EU economy in the energy transition, a just transition, as a bridge towards a green energy system based on renewable energy sources. It will accelerate the private investment we need, especially in this decade. With today’s new rules, we are also strengthening transparency and disclosures of information, so that investors make informed decisions, thereby avoiding any greenwashing, said Valdis Dombrovskis, EVP for an Economy that Works for People.

Next steps

Once translated into all official EU languages, the Complementary Delegated Act will be formally transmitted to the co-legislators for their scrutiny.

As for the other Delegated Acts under the Taxonomy Regulation, the European Parliament and the Council (who have delegated the power to the Commission to adopt Delegated Acts under the Taxonomy Regulation) will have four months to scrutinize the document, and, should they find it necessary, to object to it. Both institutions may request an additional two months of scrutiny time.

The Council will have the right to object to it by a reinforced qualified majority, which means that at least 72 percent of Member States (i.e. at least 20 Member States) representing at least 65 percent of the EU population are needed to object to the Delegated Act.

The European Parliament can object by a majority of its members voting against in plenary (i.e. at least 353 MEPs).

Once the scrutiny period is over and if neither of the co-legislators objects, the Complementary Delegated Act will enter into force and apply as of January 1, 2023.

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