The European Commission, the EU’s independent executive arm, announced its proposal Wednesday to classify some nuclear and gas-fired power plants as climate-friendly investments. The blowback was harsh, wide-ranging, and swift. Regulators described some gas and nuclear plants as “transitional activities” in the EU Taxonomy which lays out guidelines for sustainable investing.
The head of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which represents BlackRock and VanGuard among others, criticized the proposal for “seriously compromis[ing] Europe’s status as a global leader in sustainable finance.” A statement different only in tone from Greenpeace’s denunciation of the “anti-science plan” that “represents the biggest greenwashing exercise of all time.” Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands all urged the EU not to label gas energy projects as sustainable investments. (EC Proposal: Reuters, Washington Post $, AP, BBC, FT $, The Guardian, Bloomberg $, New York Times $, CNN, Wall Street Journal $, Climate Home, The Verge, Wall Street Journal $; Countries opposed: Reuters; EU Taxonomy: Reuters explainer)