Last year, the member states and the European Parliament reached a good agreement on the general guidelines for the green taxonomy. The latest proposal presented by the European Commission is a step in the wrong direction. The Commission classifies the use of natural gas and nuclear power as 'green transition techniques', thus putting the added value of the taxonomy at risk. It has evolved from a widely supported list to a controversial tool that actually encourages greenwashing.
Natural gas and nuclear power do not belong in a green taxonomy.
Natural gas not, because it does not comply with the EU climate law and does not make a substantial contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. Nuclear power, because it is not in line with the so-called 'do no significant harm' principle, which states that an activity must not have a negative effect on other environmental goals. The lack of a guaranteed and definitive solution for the disposal of nuclear waste is contrary to that principle.
According to the European Commission, both activities can be included in the green taxonomy because they are 'transition activities', which means that no other low-carbon techniques are available. We find this argument incomprehensible in the light of widely used sustainable alternatives such as solar and wind energy.
We now see that this elaboration arouses discussion everywhere. And with this application of the general framework of the taxonomy, legal uncertainty is also created. Has the European Commission not chosen an elaboration here that goes beyond the general framework, as several Member States such as Austria, Luxembourg and Spain have argued? All this does not help the necessary confidence in the further development of the taxonomy.
Activities about which there is so much difference of opinion do not belong in a standard for green investments for that reason alone. Financial markets cannot continue with legal uncertainty. As financial institutions, we regret this decision and adhere to the advice of the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance not to label both natural gas and nuclear power as green activities. Only with truly green investments can we accelerate towards a sustainable, CO2-free economy. The taxonomy should promote transparency in financial markets, not encourage greenwashing.
We therefore call on the Member States and the European Parliament to show leadership by questioning this elaboration of the taxonomy and by getting the European Commission to make proposals for a clear and science based taxonomy. This proposal does not serve the sustainable transition.
Achmea, Achmea Investment Management, ASR Nederland, ASR Vermogensbeheer, Actiam, ASN Impact Investors, ASN Bank, Triodos Bank, Triodos Investment Management, de Volksbank.