EU taxonomy

The EU Taxonomy Regulation (EU 2020/852) entered into force in July 2020 and represents a key step towards the objective of achieving a climate-neutral European Union by 2050.

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Taxonomy’s original goal was to create a single binding definition of what is considered environmentally sustainable through the development of science based Technical Screening Criteria (TSC). 

The TSC defining process has been led so far by a dedicated Platform on Sustainable Finance (PSF) composed by a wide range of experts and stakeholders (including among others academia, industry and civil society).

The first EU Taxonomy Delegated Act (Climate DA), with a first batch of criteria for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation objectives in 60+ economic sectors, was adopted by the European Commission on 21 April 2021 and started applying as of 1 January 2022. (Delegated Act). 

The second Delegated Act (Environmental DA) is still in the making and will probably be adopted by the end of 2022. It should add 40+ new economic sectors and criteria for the other four objectives such as preservation and restoration of biodiversity, transition to circular economy, pollution prevention and control and water (fresh and marine) management. The second DA will add both new sectors and new technical screening criteria for previously defined activities.

Regrettably, to reach political endorsement, in 2022 the ambition of the Climate DA has been weakened by the introduction of controversial energy activities, such as gas. The criteria proposed in a Complementary Delegated Act (CDA), essentially, allow any conversion of coal and oil plants into gas, as ‘green/renewable’. In its role as a member and in cooperation with other like-minded members, T&E has been instrumental in ensuring the Platform expressed the strongest condemnation of these provisions. Nonetheless, the Commission ultimately decided to ignore its expert group and adopted the proposal. On July 6th the European Parliament also failed to veto the act that, in our opinion, heavily damages the overall credibility of the Taxonomy. 

As a result, T&E, in coalition with other NGOs decided to resign as a Platform member and to challenge the decision to classify gas as sustainable in court. T&E, together with a large number of civil society experts, is now proceeding with an independent project on a truly science-based Taxonomy.

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Read the publications about EU taxonomy