The European Commission welcomed the adoption of the delegated act on the climate part of the EU taxonomy regulation (2020/852) on Thursday 9 December, with no opposition from the EU Council and the European Parliament.
The adoption of the climate Delegated Act is a significant achievement for the following reasons:
- Investors and companies can now start reporting against the EU Taxonomy as of next year, to meet upcoming disclosure requirements under SFDR and the Taxonomy Regulation.
- It gives the market a clear environmental performance benchmark, setting a common language for investors, companies, and other stakeholders. Importantly, it sets a technologically neutral performance threshold for electricity generation in the energy sector at 100gCO2e/kWh for substantial contribution to climate mitigation (following the recommendations of the TEG), and 270gCO2e/kWh for significant harm.
- It provides the basis for other important legislative initiatives in the EU’s renewed sustainable finance strategy, linked to sustainability reporting, financial advice based on sustainability preferences, labelling and standards for sustainability-themed financial products.
The Delegated Act’s adoption also provides important momentum to ensure that the integrity of the EU Taxonomy is maintained. To be useful for investors, it is crucial that the EU Taxonomy technical screening criteria remain based on the best available scientific evidence, as required by the Taxonomy Regulation. Specifically, the climate delegated act’s thresholds for electricity generation should be upheld in future delegated acts. Weakening or adjusting criteria would undermine the credibility and usefulness of the Taxonomy and risk creating stranded assets and accelerating climate risks, to the ultimate detriment of European savers and citizens.
Under the Taxonomy Regulation, the European Commission must develop a list of environmentally sustainable activities by defining technical screening criteria (TSC) for each environmental objective through delegated acts (DA). The first Taxonomy climate DA, published in April 2021, sets out criteria to assess the environmental performance of almost 80 climate change mitigation activities and almost 100 climate change adaptation activities, including do-no-significant-harm criteria across six environmental objectives. The criteria cover over almost 80% of direct GHG emissions.