EU green finance advisers walk out in protest

The advisers said their recommendations had been ignored on topics such as gas and nuclear power plants. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON - Five non-profit civil society groups helping the European Commission craft a list of climate-friendly activities have resigned and claimed the European Union's executive arm "interfered politically" in the advisers' work.

Part of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, the advisers were asked to help develop the rules that would define what the EU labelled as a green investment, but said their recommendations had been ignored on topics such as gas and nuclear power plants.

Both fuels should have been excluded from the so-called EU Taxonomy on the basis of the harm they cause to the environment, the advisers said, yet were included after a months-long debate and intense lobbying from both companies and member states.

The move was particularly egregious, the groups said, given that EU law specifies that the taxonomy should follow "conclusive scientific evidence".

Resigning from the group are the European Consumer Organisation; Birdlife Europe and Central Asia; Environmental Coalition on Standards; Transport & Environment; and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) European Policy Office.

The move comes as the EU looks to set out the mandate for the next stage of the taxonomy, during which it will look to discuss issues including how to define sustainability in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

"European governments and lobbies have heavily undermined the EU Taxonomy's credibility, and the commission has folded in front of them," Mr Sebastien Godinot, senior economist at WWF European Policy Office, said in a statement.

"We no longer believe this commission will allow the platform to work independently and with integrity, so we cannot be part of this process any longer."

In response, an EC spokesman said: "The European Commission recognises the work of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, and its members, in supporting the commission to develop the EU's Sustainable Finance Framework, and the EU Taxonomy in particular.

"We take note that some members of the platform have decided to step down from their position." REUTERS

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