Norway to ban palm oil linked to deforestation

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 7): The Norwegian Parliament has voted to make Norway the first country in the world to ban biofuels based on palm oil linked to deforestation. The decision will be enforced from 2020.

In a statement on Thursday, Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) said the decision was a result of a long struggle on the foundation's part to limit Norwegian consumption of palm oil and follows an all-time high consumption of palm oil-based fuels in Norway last year.

"In 2017, 317 million litres of biodiesel — around 10% of the total diesel consumption in Norway — were based on palm oil. That is now to be slashed," RFN said.

"The decision represents an expansion, widening and strengthening, compared to already adopted policies. In 2017, the Norwegian Parliament voted in favour of a restriction on use of palm oil fuels in public procurement," it added.

The Independent reported that the 2017 decision was never fully implemented as the Norwegian Government had opted to rely on voluntary measures instead.

But Monday's vote was not only stronger, it had majority Government support and was more comprehensive as it covered the entire fuel market, it wrote.

The latest decision, it said, called for the Government “to formulate a comprehensive proposal for policies and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk”.

Monday's vote has been welcomed by Norwegian environmentalists, who believed the move should inspire other nations to do the same, the news portal added.

According to RFN's translation, the full text of the resolution that was passed, stated as follows:

"The majority [in Parliament] is concerned that indirect land use effects from palm oil production lead to deforestation. The majority therefore believes that the use of palm oil should be limited as much as possible. The majority points out that it is important to find solutions in order to limit and phase out palm oil, and the majority will follow developments closely. The majority therefore puts forward the following proposal:   
"Stortinget [the Norwegian Parliament] requests that the Government formulate a comprehensive proposal for measures and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk both within and outside the blending mandate. These framework conditions shall be put forward in conjunction with the national budget for 2020, and shall be introduced from 1 January 2020.”