Austria will end the crediting of biofuels with a high risk of indirect land use change (ILUC) – including palm oil – towards greenhouse gas emission (GHC) targets on 1 July 2021, according to a report by Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) on 26 January.

The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) caps the use of high-risk ILUC biofuels at 2019 levels until 2023, and will phase them out by 2030. Its Delegated Regulation 2019/807 (delegated act) defines what high-risk ILUC biofuels are, and only palm oil falls under this category.

In France, UFOP said the accounting of biofuels from palm oil had ended on 1 January 2020 with Regulation No 2019-570 stipulating that from 31 December 2019, operators would no longer be able to list biofuels from palm oil in their mass balance system.

In Germany, a draft law submitted by the federal government at the end of 2020 had proposed that the crediting of biofuels from palm oil to GHG reduction quotas would no longer be possible from 2025, UFOP said.

The world's largest palm oil producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, have both initiated proceedings at the World Trade Organization against the exclusion regulations in RED II.

Discussions on the issue were also taking place at the EU level, according to UFOP.

A meeting in December 2020 attended by the foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries and their EU counterparts had led to the creation of a working group to address "the challenge of achieving the sustainable development goals in the vegetable oil sector", UFOP said.

The EU Commission's work programme within the framework of its Green Deal provided for the revision of RED II in the second quarter of 2021, accompanied by an impact assessment, the association said.