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.
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.
More than 320,000 citizens have added their voices to the campaign to stop subsidising the use of palm-oil biodiesel in Europe’s cars and trucks. The #NotInMyTank petition calls on the European Commission to ensure the phase-out of biodiesel made from palm oil – as it is required to do under the recently revised Renewable Energy Directive.
The EU opened trade talks for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Indonesia in 2016. Europe and Indonesia both have clear objectives for the trade deal, from increased sales in machinery and transport equipment, to raw materials such as palm oil. Palm oil is a key strategic interest for the Indonesian government. This report outlines how trade liberalisation may lead to some unintended, but avoidable consequences for natural resources, notably forests and timber; biodiversity; and human rights of indigenous peoples.
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.
This report co-authored by T&E, Eurogroup for Animals, Fern and Human Society International undertakes an in-depth analysis of the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters in the so-called 'new style' free trade agreements between the EU and its partners.