Up in smoke: Europe’s cars driving deforestation in South East Asia

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.

Almost all the growth (87%) in the use of palm oil in 2017 was due to biodiesel which is driven by an EU law that obliges governments to blend vegetable oils in diesel. Palm oil is the most harmful type of crop biofuel with triple the emissions of fossil diesel. The renewable energy directive, the law that is responsible for the spectacular growth in palm oil biodiesel since 2009, is currently being reviewed. The European Parliament has voted to stop subsidising palm oil biodiesel but the European Commission, with the support of the former Italian and Spanish governments has blocked the proposed phase out of palm oil biodiesel. Final negotiations on the biofuels law will take place this and next week.