EU Parliament seeks to soften palm oil clampdown in new proposal

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BRUSSELS (June 14): European Parliament plans to withdraw its demand for post-2020 restrictions on use of palm oil, proposing instead a softer rule to cap the use of biofuels produced from food or feed crops in draft law on renewables, according to EU document seen by Bloomberg News.

* EU Parliament to propose new provision as part of compromise deal on law during talks with representatives of member states and European Commission scheduled to start Wednesday evening in Strasbourg, France

* NOTE: In its original negotiating stance, EU Parliament was seeking to reduce to zero the contribution that member states can count toward their biofuel goals from the use of biofuels and bioliquids produced from palm oil as of 2021; most national governments and EU Commission opposed such restrictions

* Compromise proposal seeks link to indirect land-use change, a phenomenon where crop-based biofuels displace food production or lead to deforestation, indirectly boosting emissions

* Parliament’s new proposal envisions that in the next decade the contribution from biofuels produced from food or feed crops and consumed in a member state’s transport system shouldn’t exceed its average from 2014-2018, with maximum of 7% of total transport consumption

** Member states would be able to seek lower limits and distinguish between types of biofuels, taking into account “best available evidence on indirect land-use change impact,” according to the draft compromise proposal

* Contribution from biofuels produced from food or feed crop that present high risk of expansion of their production area into land with high carbon stock should be capped at 2017 consumption level unless they are certified as low-risk, according to new Parliament document

** As of Dec. 21, 2023 their contribution should start decreasing gradually to zero percent by the end of 2030

* Parliament’s proposal seeks to oblige European Commission to submit by Feb. 2019 a report on “the status of production expansion of relevant food and feed crops worldwide” and adopt a separate regulation setting out criteria for certification of biofuels presenting low risks with regard to indirect land-use change

* NOTE: Palm Oil Helps Fight Against Poverty, Indonesia Envoy Tells EU