The use of palm oil for EU biofuels dwarfs the amount used to make cookies, hazelnut spreads, ice cream, shampoo, lipsticks – and other food and cosmetic products. That’s according to new industry data which shows diesel cars and trucks burned 51% of all the palm oil used in Europe in 2017.
More than half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks. Palm oil used for biodiesel has increased sharply over the last years while food consumption of palm oil is declining.
Earlier this year, the European Parliament voted on the renewable energy directive (RED). While the outcome was not ideal, we welcomed Parliament’s vote because it caps food-based biofuels, redirects investments into the fuels of the future (electricity, advanced biofuels) and ends support for palm oil biodiesel.
The European Parliament voted today to limit the support to biofuels made from food crops to 2017 national consumption levels and never higher than 7% of all transport fuels. Parliament also voted to remove biodiesel made from palm oil, the highest emitting biofuel in the market today, from the list of biofuels that can count towards the renewables target in 2021. This means that drivers will no longer be forced to burn palm oil in their cars and trucks.
The industry committee of the European Parliament voted today to reinstate a ‘renewable’ energy target for transport in 2030 . Such a target would continue subsidising the use of high-emitting, food-based biofuels, green group Transport & Environment (T&E) and development NGO Oxfam said. If passed in the plenary of the Parliament, it would increase emissions in transport, push up global food prices and negatively impact people around the world who live from the land.
The European Commission and EU member states look set to agree to almost entirely remove sustainability criteria for bio jet fuel at the UN’s aviation agency (ICAO) Council meeting today in Montreal. The countries gathered at the ICAO meeting will trash ten sustainability points out of 12, which will mean that highly unsustainable biofuels would qualify for the aviation’s global carbon offsetting scheme dubbed CORSIA.
Today, 25 countries convened by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rightly rejected the 2050 Vision on Sustainable Aviation Fuels that included volume-based targets as originally proposed by the ICAO Secretariat. Brad Schallert, Deputy Director at World Wildlife Fund and a spokesperson for the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, a network of nonprofit organizations representing millions of members, released the following statement in response.
Several environmental groups today handed over a citizens’ petition to the United Nations’ aviation body, ICAO, urging the agency to scrap its plan for the vast use of biofuels in planes. The petition, signed by 172,000 citizens across the globe and coordinated by the conservation group Rainforest Rescue, states that using biofuels on a large scale will inevitably accelerate palm oil expansion, triggering massive deforestation and a surge on greenhouse gas emissions. The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) will discuss the biofuels plan today at its Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in Mexico City.
Environmental and development organisations from five continents have today written to the UN’s aviation agency (ICAO) condemning a proposal for large-scale use of biofuels in planes. The letter signed by 96 NGOs states that using biofuels on a vast scale will inevitably lead to further palm oil expansion , which will cause more deforestation, increasing climate-changing emissions, and more landgrabbing and land and human rights abuses. The proposals will be discussed this week (October 11-13) by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) at its Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in Mexico City.
The discussion about Europe’s biofuels policy is in full swing and the biofuels industry has assembled an impressive lobbying army to spread the gospel. Hardly a day goes by without the biofuels industry organising some event to promote the benefits of biodiesel and ethanol. This is a good indication of how important EU legislation is for biofuel producers. Indeed, growing crops and then turning them into fuels to burn in combustion engines is a costly and inefficient business. The truth is the biofuels industry was created and survives on generous and sustained support in the form of mandates, tax breaks and subsidies.