On February 8th, the European Commission published the Delegated Act on biofuels, as established in June 2018 as part of the agreement of the new Renewable Energy Directive (REDII).
The draft Delegated Act, in public consultation until the 8th of March, was intended to establish robust sustainability criteria for the identification of biofuels with high-risk of deforestation (High ILUC). The share of biofuels identified as high ILUC will be frozen at 2019 levels and then progressively decreased as of 2023 until a full phase-out in 2030; however the act, appears to be completely inadequate as it leaves many loopholes open that would continue the business as usual, or even worsen it.
“Unfortunately, the published delegated act is inadequate: on one side, the Commission recognizes the direct link between palm oil and deforestation, and consequently eliminates the possibility for the latter to be counted towards the renewable target in 2030, on the other, it introduces a series of loopholes – low-ILUC biofuels, e.g. palm oil from “small land plots” of less than 5 hectares or from abandoned lands – which actually make possible to keep using these harmful biofuels. Even more, the Commission exempts soy, one of the biggest responsibles for deforestation at global level, from the high-risk ILUC category”, the letter states.
The Italian environmental world asked their MEPs to put pressure on the Commission in order to get a better text that closes loopholes and include soy biodiesel in the High ILUC risk category.