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.
Despite industry’s desperate efforts to deny the impact of biofuels on food prices, a new study shows there is wide scientific consensus that biofuels policies increase global food prices. The analysis, conducted by consultancy Cerulogy for BirdLife Europe & Central Asia and Transport & Environment, reviews over 100 economic modelling studies of the impact on food prices because of increased demand for biofuels made from food crops.
The environment committee of the European Parliament today adopted a resolution urging the European Commission to phase out the use of vegetable oils for biofuels, preferably by 2020. All political groups agreed on the need to stop incentives to biofuels that cause deforestation and peatland drainage, which includes a range of feedstocks such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed, The resolution was on an own-initiative report on palm oil and deforestation.
Despite all the glaring evidence proving that palm-oil biodiesel is three times more polluting than fossil diesel, European transport still keeps burning more and more palm oil to power its diesel cars and trucks. 2015 data from OILWORLD, industry's reference for vegetable oils market analysis, shows a 3% increase in the use of palm oil for biodiesel. European biodiesel is now the main end product of imported palm oil, reaching an all-time-high share of 46%. This makes drivers the leading (albeit unaware) consumers of palm oil in Europe.
The European Commission’s leaked draft proposal to continue supporting land-based biofuels until 2030 will increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from European transport over the period 2021-2030 by an amount equivalent to the emissions from the Netherlands in 2014. These are extra emissions from using these biofuels instead of regular diesel and petrol.
The environment committee of the European Parliament voted today to phase out the support for biodiesel from vegetable oils in 2030 and terminate the use of palm oil biodiesel as early as 2021. However, MEPs decided to exempt some food-based biofuels such as bioethanol and crops grown in marginal land from this phase out. They also voted to increase the overall target for advanced fuels to 9% of fuels supplied in 2030. Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the decision to stop food-based biodiesel but warns that the proposed blending mandate for advanced biofuels is too high to be sustainable.
An analysis of the European Commission’s agriculture data shows that 53% of feedstocks (vegetable oils mainly from rapeseed, palm and soya) used to produce crop biodiesel in EU installations in 2015 was imported, not grown in Europe as the biofuels industry would like people to think. The Transport & Environment (T&E) analysis (Link to Briefing:) also shows that the ethanol industry is a minor player in the EU biofuels market today as four out of every five litres of biofuel consumed in Europe is biodiesel, according to the 2017 EU Energy Statistical Pocketbook.
The EU should have sustainability criteria when considering anti-dumping duties for imports of biodiesel, such as those from Argentina, so that biofuels that emit more carbon than fossil fuels are kept out, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. Today European governments decided to significantly lower the duties (to between 4.5 and 8.1%) on Argentine biodiesel following a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) striking them down. T&E said the EU must show coherence in its trade and climate policies.