Tuesday, August 25th – Backdoor dealings and special procedures could lead to the integration of fossil gas and nuclear in the EU sustainable taxonomy. Reclaim Finance publishes a briefing warning about the extent of fossil gas and nuclear lobbying and the EU Commission’s open ear to their arguments. Reclaim Finance calls on the EU Commission to exclude natural gas and nuclear from the taxonomy and cut all ties with fossil fuel lobbies.

The EU sustainable taxonomy is the cornerstone of the EU plans to “green” finance. It will be used to guide both public and private investments, starting with the EU Green Deal and Member States’ post-Covid recovery packages.

Reclaim Finance investigated how fossil gas and nuclear lobbies are trying to influence the taxonomy process. The briefing, entitled “Behind the curtains: when the gas and nuclear lobbies reshape the EU sustainable taxonomy,” summarizes the results of this investigation studying data reported by companies, lobbying agencies and organizations from the natural gas and nuclear sector in the EU transparency register since 2018.

The study shows that 189 players devote 825 lobbyists – 450 full-time equivalents (FTE) – and spend between €71.4 and €86.6 million a year to influence EU decisions.

“Inclusion in the EU sustainable taxonomy means benefiting from billions in so-called “green” spendings from both public and private actors. No wonder fossil gas and nuclear lobbies are banging at EU officials’ doors every three days and devoting 825 people and 86.6 million euros to be a part of the taxonomy.” says Paul Schreiber, campaigner at Reclaim Finance.

Though natural gas and nuclear were excluded from the EU sustainable taxonomy by the technical expert group (TEG) tasked to build its foundations, this may not be the case for long. The EU Commission decided that nuclear will undergo a specific expertise that could lead to its integration.Several clues suggest that the Commission could also choose to include gas projects.

Between January 2018 and July 7th, 2020, EU officials held 310 meetings with gas and nuclear players, or 2.36 meetings a week. Since the publication of the final report excluding gas and nuclear from the taxonomy in March 2020, lobbyists and officials met 52 times. The frequency of these meetings increased after this report was published, from 2.28 to 2.86 times a week.

“The current system feeds a climate destructing cycle whereby EU policies and funds finance fossil-fuel companies that in turn spend millions lobbying for fossil-friendly legislation. If EU institutions and Member States are serious about building a sustainable Europe confronting the climate emergency, they must break free from fossil fuel lobbyists. We need a climate firewall to protect our planet and the interests of its citizens.” stresses Paul Schreiber, campaigner at Reclaim Finance.

The briefing calls on the EU Commission and EU leaders to stay true to their pledges to build a “greener” and more “sustainable” Europe. The EU Commission must cancel the specific procedure launched for nuclear and exclude natural gas and nuclear from the taxonomy. Moreover, to be able to reach its climate targets, the EU must cut ties with fossil fuel lobbies.

See the briefing.

Press contact:

Paul Schreiber, Campaigner | paul@reclaimfinance.org
Lucie Pinson, Director | lucie@reclaimfinance.org | +33 6 79 54 37 15