A coalition of 21 NGOs urged Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete to exclude soy- and palm oil-based biodiesel from the list of biofuels eligible to count toward renewable energy targets for transport.
Any violations of environmental protections in EU trade agreements should be subject to the same state-to-state dispute settlement as violations of the commercial clauses, a new study by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. Currently there are practically no ways to enforce and tackle breaches of environmental and sustainability provisions in EU trade agreements, but earlier this month EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced that she wants to make sustainable development chapters of trade agreements more effective.
The EU is negotiating trade deals with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Indonesia, and soon Malaysia, These trade deals represent a risk for the EU’s sustainable transport plans. All mentioned countries are producers and exporters of crop-based biofuels, especially from palm and soybean oil that have higher overall emissions than fossil diesel. All ongoing negotiations include chapters on energy and raw materials.
The Board of sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has today announced William Todts as its new Executive Director. He succeeds Jos Dings, who this week leaves the position after 13 years.
The European Union relies on foreign companies to supply 80% of its oil imports, according to a new study on the continent’s oil dependency. Russian firms supply more than one-third (36%) of imported crude, and just two of the top 10 oil suppliers to the EU are European – Shell and Norway’s Statoil.
A new EU trade deal with the South American Mercosur trade bloc will open the European market to more imports of ethanol and crops that are used to make high-emitting biofuels. It means that crops and ethanol produced in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay could be used to meet the EU’s green transport fuel targets.
In 2018, almost two-thirds (65%) of the palm oil imported into the EU was burned as energy. Of that, 53% was used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks and 12% to generate electricity and heating. About a third of all the palm oil consumed in the EU in 2018 was used to produce food, animal feed and other industrial products such as cosmetics. Worryingly, palm oil used for biodiesel grew again last year - by 3% - while the use of palm oil to make food and animal feed dropped by a considerable 11%. This trend proves that the imported deforestation from palm oil is mainly driven by the EU biofuels policy.
Europeans are increasingly eating less and less palm oil and instead are inadvertently burning more and more in cars and trucks. Last year 65% of all the palm oil imported into the EU was used for energy. 53% of all palm imports was used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks - an all-time high - and 12% to generate electricity and heating - another record. Palm oil used for biodiesel grew again in 2018 - by 3% - while the use of palm oil to make food and animal feed dropped significantly, by 11%.
As the transition to electric vehicles is gaining speed in Europe and globally, demand for cobalt has jumped over past years and will significantly increase in the future. This trend is expected to mostly impact the mining landscape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as the country accounts for around ⅔ of global cobalt production.
The use of palm oil in diesel will be gradually reduced from 2023 and should reach zero in 2030, the European Commission has decided. Though some exemptions will remain, palm oil will no longer be counted as a green fuel to meet the EU’s 2030 renewable energy targets as it causes deforestation. T&E said the labelling of palm oil as unsustainable is a milestone in the fight to recognise the climate impact of burning food for energy.