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 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 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.
The European Commission today decided that palm oil is not a green fuel and should not be promoted because it causes deforestation. The use of palm oil in diesel, which is driven by the EU’s renewable energy targets, will be gradually reduced as of 2023 and should reach zero in 2030 although exemptions remain. Europe’s federation of green transport NGOs, Transport & Environment (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.
In the context of the EU recast of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), the European co-legislators asked the Commission to develop a methodology to identify high ILUC risk biofuels with a significant expansion into high-carbon stock areas. These high ILUC risk biofuels would be frozen and then fully phased-out of the EU renewable targets by the year 2030. Some parties have raised questions regarding the compatibility of these measures with international trade rules.
The US has become the second largest electric passenger car market in the world , selling 361,000 EVs in 2018 (a 2.1% market share) and relegating Europe to the third place with 302,000 cars (or a 2.0% market share), new analysis by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows. China continues to top the ranking with over one million EVs sold last year and an EV market share of 4%.
Latest electric passenger car sales data from 2018 shows that the US has overtaken Europe in the numbers of electric vehicles (EV1) sold, by around 60,000 units. This is despite the EU being much more committed to climate action than the US where the Trump administration is dismantling.
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.