The gas and nuclear industries have ramped up lobbying to secure last-ditch changes to European rules defining which investments are sustainable, fearing that exclusion from a new “green” list could deprive them of billions of dollars of funding.
The climate section of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy is due to be finalised this year and it could prove crucial as nuclear power and most natural gas plants and pipelines were excluded from a provisional list published in March.
By forcing providers of financial products to disclose which investments meet climate criteria from the end of 2021, the new EU green finance rules are designed to channel cash towards projects that support the bloc’s climate goals.
In the four months since the rules were published, gas and nuclear industry representatives held 52 meetings – in person or virtually – with EU officials, according to EU logs analysed by non-profit Reclaim Finance and shared exclusively with Reuters.
Overall, industry representatives have held a total of 310 meetings with EU policymakers since the start of 2018, according to the data based on transparency filings published by July 8.
Nuclear groups in particular have stepped up their lobbying, Of the 36 meetings they’ve held over the past two-and-a-half years, 10 have taken place since March.
Brussels is facing calls to use the rules to guarantee spending from its 750 billion euro ($888 billion) COVID-19 recovery fund goes to green projects. The money starts flowing in 2021, meaning any delay to the rules could thwart this plan.