Behind the curtains: When the gas and nuclear lobbies reshape the EU sustainable taxonomy - Media briefing, August 2020
[en] The new Sustainable Taxonomy aims at identifying activities that contribute to the ecological transition, in accordance with European climate and environmental objectives. While the eagerly awaited regulation is almost operational and received the European Parliament's approval, the European Commission is considering the reintegration of natural gas and nuclear energy in the taxonomy. Looking closely at the chronology of events and at the European transparency register, Reclaim Finance sheds a light on the intense gas and nuclear lobbying that led to these dangerous last-minute discussions. Key findings: - It took two years of work to exclude fossil gas and nuclear from the new European sustainable taxonomy. Now, backdoor dealings and special procedures could lead to their integration. - 189 players from the fossil gas and nuclear sector mobilize 825 lobbyists -450 full-time equivalents (FTE)- to put pressure on the European Commission. They are spending between Euros 71.4 million and Euros 86.6 million a year to influence EU decisions. This is a conservative estimate as the EU transparency register is voluntary and non-binding, thus allowing unreported and under-reported lobbying. - The European Commission largely listens to fossil gas and nuclear lobbyists. Between January 2018 and July 7, 2020, EU officials held 310 meetings, 52 between the publication of the final report on the taxonomy in March 2020 and July 7, 2020. Since the taxonomy process started, in 2018, they had 2.36 meetings a week with them. The frequency of these meetings slightly increased after the last report was published in March 2020 from 2.28 to 2.86 times a week. - The fossil gas lobby is especially vast and powerful. It gathers 167 entities that spend between Euros 68.8 million and Euros 82.9 million each year and devotes 759 employees-419 FTEs-to promoting the sector as a 'bridge' energy.