Eligible activities under the European taxonomy – what’s new?

The draft text of a Commission Delegated Regulated published on 31 December 2021 proposes including certain natural gas and nuclear activities as “sustainable” investments. More specifically, natural gas and nuclear energy are not classified as renewable energies under the taxonomy, but in a separate category, as energies that can play a transitional role. This new proposal follows requests from France and several other European countries to include nuclear energy and gas in the list of green assets.

Background recap:

The EU taxonomy is a classification system to help investors, companies, issuers, and project promoters to direct their investments into economic activities that respect the environment.

The EU Taxonomy Regulation defines a list of economic activities and performance thresholds to measure their contribution to six environmental objectives:

· Climate change mitigation;

· Climate change adaptation;

· The sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources;

· The transition to a circular economy;

· Pollution prevention and control; and

· The protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.

To date, the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) has only provided detailed assessment criteria for the first two objectives but will soon publish these for the four remaining objectives. 

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