EU lawmakers have reached an informal agreement to phase out palm oil-based biodiesel by 2030, putting an end to more than a year and a half of debate.
According to a Luxembourg Green MEP Claude Turmes, the phaseout would start with a freeze imposed on the current levels of palm oil imports, reported Platts on 14 June.
The move was likely to upset the world’s two largest palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia, who had threatened the EU with trade retaliation if it enacts a palm oil ban.
The phaseout decision was a part of a more expansive agreement to update the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which included a binding 32% target of renewables in the EU energy mix, tweeted EU climate action and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.
Environmental activist group Greenpeace called the 32% target “disappointing”, saying it fell far behind the level needed to avert “catastrophic” climate change
In addition, the agreement would set a 14% renewable energy sub-target on transport, put a freeze on first generation or crop-based biofuels in each EU member state at the level reached by 2020, and set a 3.5% target of non-crop based second generation advanced biofuels.
According to an analysis by Euractiv, the 14% renewables target in traffic – alongside the biofuel restrictions – could be seen as a way for the EU to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.
The European Parliament originally sought a 12% transport target, while the final 14% level was one endorsed by the EU Council, representing national governments.
The informal deal would next have to be approved by both the EU Parliament and the Council, which Platts said could take a few months but was usually only a formality for an informal decision.