CONSULTATION ON EU SUSTAINABLE FINANCE TAXONOMY

ABOUT THE CONSULTATION

  • The new EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy is a proposed classification tool to help investors and companies make informed investment decisions on environmentally friendly economic activities. Nuclear energy is presently at risk of being excluded.
  • The European Commission, via its Technical Expert Group, is currently consulting on the contents of the draft Taxonomy report and we are encouraging as many people as possible to respond in support of nuclear. The deadline for responding is 13th September 2019.

HOW TO RESPOND

  • Please follow the link to respond to the consultation.
  • Please note the maximum allowable text is only 2000 characters (plus 500 characters for additional evidence).
  • Please find key arguments to support consultation responses here.
  • We have published a new report on the Sustainable Assessment of Nuclear energy here.
  • The technical report which sets out the proposed contents of the draft Taxonomy can be found here.
  • In addition, we encourage you to submit a longer response via email: ec-teg-sf@ec.europa.eu

WHY IT MATTERS  

  • If the EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy excludes nuclear, it may result in both new build and life extensions for existing fleet being much more difficult to finance. 
  • Nuclear energy is Europe’s largest source of clean energy. We will need to both keep current fleet operational and build new ones to reach our climate targets. This requires a level-playing field and a fair market for energy.
  • According to IPCC (2018), the world will need 2-6 times more nuclear by 2050 for a meaningful climate mitigation effort. Europe, with a big existing fleet and the required institutions and know-how in place, should be the forerunner in this.
  • The International Energy Agency (2019) warned that solving climate change will be much more difficult, and far more expensive without investment to maintain existing plants, and in new nuclear projects. The lack of further lifetime extensions of existing nuclear plants and new projects could result in an additional 4 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions.” The report (2019) found that: “…extending the operational life of existing nuclear plants requires substantial capital investment. But its cost is competitive with other electricity generation technologies, including new solar and wind projects, and can lead to a more secure, less disruptive energy transition.”
  • All low carbon technologies – including nuclear, wind, solar – need effective policies and market design if climate goals are to be met even remotely cost effectively.
  • It is worth noting that other parts of the EU’s financial machinery recognise the need for nuclear in achieving net zero: at the end of last month, the EIB published a draft policy setting out how the EIB can help the EU meet its climate change targets and achieve the rapid phasing out of lending to fossil fuels, in which the EIB noted that: “Achieving net-zero emissions will require a diverse portfolio of technologies including renewables, but also nuclear, carbon capture and storage, power-to-X (converting surplus renewable power into a different energy carrier), as well as bioenergy, storage and digital technologies. Increased innovation and deployment is needed across the portfolio.” It is critical that all parts of the EU should be aligned on the surest route to achieving net zero; it would undermine the credibility of the Taxonomy within the financial community if one branch recognised nuclear as sustainable while another did not.

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES

  • The summary of the technical report can be found here.
  • The link to the Technical Expert Group’s consultation can be found here.
  • Suggested text to support consultation responses are here.
  • Our detailed response to the draft TEG report can be found here.