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.
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.
In a landmark decision, the European Commission last night acknowledged in a delegated act that oil palm cultivation causes significant deforestation, and thus biodiesel produced from palm oil cannot be counted towards meeting EU green fuel targets. However, under mounting pressure, including trade war threats, from the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, the Commission has introduced several loopholes, including an exemption for additional palm oil produced in independent small plantations (less than five hectares) or produced on ‘unused’ land.
The European Parliament today adopted a new law to phase out highest-emitting biofuels made from palm and soybean oil. The law states that these harmful biofuels cannot grow above each country’s 2019 consumption levels and should gradually decrease from 2023 onwards until reaching 0% in 2030. Whilst the principle of phasing out palm and soy biofuels is enshrined in the new law, the Commission has until 1 February 2019 to publish a delegated act establishing the science-based criteria to carry out the commitments made by the EU Parliament and governments.
Since the creation of the European Single Aviation Market, the UK and its airlines have greatly benefited for decades from full access to the European market. This access will cease to exist on 29 March 2019 in the absence of an agreement. Given the current state of Brexit negotiations, the possibility of not reaching a future deal on the aviation relationship would greatly harm the industry, consumers and, particularly, the environment.
Some of the world’s most valuable forests are still being destroyed in order to make palm oil, of which a considerable portion ends up as biodiesel for use on Europe’s roads. That is the striking message from an investigation by a global alliance of NGOs, including T&E, that has uncovered horrific deforestation in Indonesia’s pristine rainforest in the remote province of Papua. T&E says this highlights the urgent need for the EU to correct the anomalies in European legislation that allow climate-harming biofuels to count towards climate targets.
The EU’s certification system for the sustainability of biofuels is ‘not fully reliable’, the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the independent EU body in charge of scrutinising Europe’s public spending, has said. In a report in July it found that the certification system ‘did not adequately cover some important aspects necessary to ensure the sustainability of biofuels’. The majority of ‘sustainable’ EU biofuels are certified through European Commission-recognised voluntary schemes.