British civil society calls on MEPs to suspend approval of ‘green’ finance list
Originally posted on Transport & Environment.
By Eoin Bannon
More than 90 environmental and consumer groups today called on the European Parliament not to accept the rules of sustainable finance that would allow logging and the burning of trees to be counted as green investments. In a public letter, groups such as Transport & Environment (T&E), WWF, Greenpeace and BEUC ask 705 MEPs to suspend the European Commission’s green investment taxonomy review until further texts Critical legislation on bioenergy, gas, nuclear energy, and agriculture is released later this year.
Intense lobbying from Sweden and Finland in particular has led to the removal of scientific criteria for forestry and bioenergy, write the 91 groups. As a result, indiscriminate cutting and burning of trees for energy purposes would be cleared by the delegated act on sustainable finance which MEPs were asked to approve by December.
William Todts, Executive Director of T&E, said: “This taxonomy will steer green finance towards good things like solar and wind power generation and electric cars and trucks. But without safeguards, it will also open the door to destructive forestry practices and highly emitting biomass. MPs should not let this pass until they can see the other green laws in the works. “
Civil society demands that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, fearing that the Commission will try to dilute the bad news through a number of legal measures rather than submitting it to MEPs in one time. This is the first of three delegated acts that lists activities that can be marketed to investors as green.
MEPs are expected to withhold approval until the Commission says whether fossil-fueled power plants should be labeled sustainable – a decision postponed to a later delegated act. Parliament should also wait for Commission proposals to revise the main pieces of legislation on which the taxonomy is based. In July, the Commission will propose amendments to renewable energy (RED) and land use laws to make the bloc ‘fit for a 55% reduction’ in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. More later in the year, new EU strategies on forests and biodiversity will also be unveiled.
William Todts said: “The list is meant to help fight climate change, but instead calls cargo ships that burn bunker fuel and public buses that run on fossil gas green. A taxonomy that greens the use of fossil gas will have no credibility in the eyes of consumers, civil society and investors. Parliament should suspend its approval until it can see the big picture. “
The taxonomy regulation determines which financial investments can be labeled environmentally sustainable. The current list of environmentally friendly activities is being drawn up by the Commission and is supposed to be based on the recommendations of the expert group made up of NGOs, financial market companies and EU agencies . It must be approved by the European Parliament and governments before it becomes law.
Read more: Letter: MEPs should block EU list of ‘green’ investments – for now
Download the full report [PDF]: Letter: MEPs should block list of EU ‘green’ investments – for now
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