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Intensive lobbying throughout 2020 from ‘real economy’ sectors has extracted significant concessions from the European Commission on its EU Sustainable Finance taxonomy. The green criteria for a range of sectors, including bioenergy, agriculture and hydropower are now at risk of diverging from the Commission’s Technical Expert Group’s science-based recommendations, with natural gas also being heavily lobbied on. The Commission is expected to publish the final delegated act on the EU taxonomy by the end of the year, and fierce lobbying continues in the lead up to this.
The taxonomy is one of the central components of the EU’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance and aims to provide a common, science-based language to identify economic activities that contribute to achieving the EU’s sustainability goals, including its 2050 net-zero target.
The taxonomy criteria will underpin a range of EU financial regulations on sustainable finance and therefore are expected to impact private investment and lending decisions as well as potentially guiding the EU budget and recovery funds. This has created a huge amount of interest from industry, which has generally lobbied intensively for a lenient approach to their respective sectors. This research tracks the deviations from the Technical Expert Group’s advice, which risk misaligning the taxonomy from EU’s climate goals, back to the vested-interest lobbying of real-economy sectors that have demanded these changes.