Taxonomy : are you still in ?

by | 1 Dec 2020 | Sustainable Finance

I had mentioned this ephemeral work in a paper published here two years ago.

I then spoke about this very special atmosphere that we had experienced in Paris in December 2015, just a few days after the Bataclan attacks.

And thinking again of those days, my emotion is even greater! It was December 3, 2015, almost exactly five years ago, at the very start of the Paris Conference …

“Art has the capacity to change our perception of the world and Ice Watch makes the climate challenges we face tangible. Today we have access to reliable data that sheds light on what will happen and what can be done” the artist said.

A few days later, Laurent Fabius’ “little hammer” was closing a particularly brilliant COP 21, with its “promises”:

  • limit the rise in the average temperature of the planet to “well below” 2 ° C at the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial average temperature, while continuing efforts to limit this rise to 1.5 ° C;
  • build capacities to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change;
  • reorient financial flows in a direction compatible with these two objectives.

Five years have passed …

Considering my culture of financier, I must confess I believed a lot in the third bullet point and in the need to equip oneself with all the necessary tools to achieve a “Sustainable Finance”.

In France, on the occasion of the loi Pacte, we have seen a florilegia of  “raisons d’être” each one more virtuous than the next … a sort of concours Lépine for Social and Environmental Responsibility!

Yet, according to Axa’s 2020 climate report, the insurer’s portfolio – one of the “good students” in this area – is on a trajectory of a little less than 3 ° C, compared to an average market trajectory of around 3.6 ° C …

3.6 ° C rise in average temperature at the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial era, it’s just not sustainable.

Climate is a public good. It cannot therefore be left to the laws of the market.

A few days ago, the European Commission published a first draft of the delegated act related to the “Technical Screening Criteria” (TSC) promised by the Taxonomy regulation, to submit it for consultation.

If we measure the hope of a sustainable future by the quantity of standards issued, it seems to me that we are on a promising path: 349 pages evenly split between mitigation and adaptation … And there are four more criteria to cover!

349 pages of standards to define a small virtuous world, next to the “real economy”, are we serious? What about the activities, by far the most numerous, which do not fall under “taxonomy”?

And a pending question by the way, since no one is supposed to ignore the law: who still understands these texts?

Iconography: December 3, 2015, “Ice Watch”, by Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing, Place du Panthéon, Paris © Martin Argyroglo