A NEW European research report has claimed that the European Union’s
(EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED) discriminates against non-EU
producers of biofuels such as palm oil.
Dr Gernot Pehnelt,
director of the independent research institute GlobEcon, did the study
with Christoph Vietze. The study has been released to the European
He said RED is an example of import protectionism
via environmental standards rather than an effective measure to actually
save the environment and contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
“The EU has embedded protectionist measures at the
behest of anti-development environmentalists and the uncompetitive
European biofuels industry,” he said.
Environmental standards have been designed and interpreted in favour
of certain oil crops grown in the EU.
According to RED,
biofuels must result in GHG savings of at least 35 per cent compared to
fossil fuels in 2009 and rising over time to 50 per cent by 2017.
Most analysis carried out by researchers estimated GHG savings of 55
per cent for palm oil-based biodiesel, but the EU’s calculation, done by
its scientific and technical research arm the Joint Research Centre,
showed the use of palm oil- based biodiesel failed the 35 per cent
requirement, as it achieved only 19 per cent.
The RED also
requires for sustainable biofuels to be produced with “no damage to
sensitive or important ecosystems”.
Pehnelt said many of the
claims that foreign biofuels, specifically palm oil, are a threat to the
environment are seriously flawed and some unfounded.
most importantly, palm oil acts as a substantial driver of economic
growth in the developing world, drastically reducing hunger and poverty
in regions that actively cultivate this valuable crop,” he said.
Palm oil is a staple part of the national diet in many developing
countries, already an important pillar of rural development in some
tropical countries and a major generator of jobs.
for about one-third of the global production of edible vegetable oils
and offers further opportunities, especially in areas like Africa where
the industry has not been developed yet.
“Restricting palm oil
production worldwide and limiting access to European markets would limit
an important opportunity for developing countries to raise living
standards and reduce poverty,” he added.
The EU, he concluded,
should reshape its policies towards palm oil, conduct objective and
non-discriminatory calculations regarding the GHG savings and support
palm oil imports from developing countries rather than restricting them.
Source : Business Times