Policy Briefs

C. De Vincenti – The “do no significant harm” principle: Two possible interpretations

With the European Commission’s recent draft document that includes, albeit under restrictive conditions, gas and nuclear power generation plants within the taxonomy of eligible investments for the purposes of the green transition, a decisive issue has come to a head, an issue on which the actual achievement of the Green Deal sustainable growth objectives depends: what is really meant by the “do no significant harm” (DNSH) principle.

The Commission's proposals are now trying to overcome some of the rigidities with which that principle was interpreted in the previous application documents of the Taxonomy launched with the Regulation of 18 June 2020, where it was formulated in a rigid form that actually risks compromising precisely the reduction of emissions by 2030 and their zeroing by 2050.

In this paper I propose an alternative interpretation of the "do no significant harm" principle so that it becomes an effective lever, not an obstacle, for the fundamental investments of a sustainable development strategy.

Click here to read the paper