EU Taxonomy | Major NGOs consider filing a lawsuit against the European Commission

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INSIGHT by ClientEarth

The European Commission yesterday formally responded to four environmental groups’ request to drop the labelling of fossil gas-fired electricity and heat as ‘sustainable’ in the EU Taxonomy.

ClientEarth, WWF European Policy Office, Transport & Environment (T&E), and BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) started legal action in September through a request for internal review. This is the first administrative step for NGOs and members of the public to challenge EU decisions breaching environmental law. Asking for an internal review obliges the Commission to reply – a reply which can then be challenged in the EU Court of Justice.

The groups argued that by giving fossil gas-fired electricity and heat a ‘sustainable’ label, the Taxonomy’s Complementary Delegated Act (CDA) clashes with other EU laws, in particular the Taxonomy Regulation itself and the European Climate Law. It is also at odds with the Commission’s broader climate commitments.

 

“We cannot let the Taxonomy Regulation become a greenwashing mechanism. We are analysing the Commission’s reply and considering our next steps. We won’t shy away from going to court if necessary.”

 

The Commission’s freshly published reply to groups claims that it acted lawfully and that there is thus no need to revise the contested delegated act – thereby maintaining the ‘sustainable’ label of fossil gas-fired electricity and heat.

A spokesperson for ClientEarth, the WWF European Policy Office, T&E and BUND said: “We’re disappointed by the Commission’s response. The ball was in their court and they lost a key opportunity to reclaim credibility.

“The labelling of fossil gas as ‘sustainable’ is a farce that’s going to cost our climate dearly. Contrary to what the Commission claims, the decision was taken unlawfully and disregarded climate science.

“We cannot let the Taxonomy Regulation become a greenwashing mechanism. We are analysing the Commission’s reply and considering our next steps. We won’t shy away from going to court if necessary.”

 

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