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EU advisers propose expanding sustainable finance rules

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By Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett

LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) – European Commission advisers on Monday proposed an extension of the bloc’s sustainable financing rules to better qualify activities such as gas-fired power plants that are not yet environmentally friendly.

The decision to include gas in the European Union’s flagship taxonomy, a list of green activities that help the bloc meet its climate goals, has drawn intense lobbying over the past year.

After the Commission proposed defining gas as “green” using more generous emission thresholds than those originally suggested by expert advisers, several European countries and politicians said they would oppose it.

To help resolve the issue, the advisers proposed expanding the scope of the taxonomy using a traffic light system to include an intermediate, or “amber,” category for activities that are not yet sustainable, but could become so over time. .

There will also be the creation of a “red” category for activities that cause significant environmental damage and that must be the subject of an urgent transition or a cessation of activities, as well as others for activities that have little direct impact on the environment. environment.

“It’s very important to be clear about what those transitions are that are needed so that the capital markets can engage and funding flows,” said Nancy Saich, chief climate change expert at the European Investment Bank and a member of the expert advisory group.

By expanding the role of taxonomy, companies could better access financing to finance their transition to a low-carbon economy, while investors would gain more transparency about what they are financing at the portfolio level.

“One piece of the puzzle doesn’t give the whole picture,” said Sébastien Godinot, senior economist at WWF’s European Policy Office.

“We need the taxonomy to contain different categories and cover all key sectors to clarify where we are now and accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy.”

(Reporting by Simon Jessop; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)

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