Yellow fields instead of burning forests

UFOP calls for an end to the quota assessment of biofuels made from palm oil in the EU

Berlin, 20 December 2016. There must be an end in the EU that biofuels made from palm oil are accounted for quota commitments! The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) is calling for this at the beginning of the discussion on the EU Commission’s proposals to reform the biofuel policy. These were presented as part of the so-called “winter package” last week. With the reform of the Renewable Energy Directive, the definition for the first generation of biofuels has to be changed and/or refined: UFOP justified their call by stating that, from 2021 onwards, only biofuels made from cultivated biomass should still be subject to allowances in the EU if high-protein animal feed accrues in their production.

Biofuels made from rapeseed, grain and sugar beet not only contribute significantly today to minimising the import of genetically modified soya into the EU, but will continue to do so in future. In 2015, more rapeseed than soybean meal was used as fodder in Germany for the first time. A significant driver of this trend is the increasing declaration of dairy products with the label “not genetically modified”. Rapeseed is by far the most important GMO-free protein feed source in the EU.

The union emphasises that in order for the “protein source” rapeseed to be preserved for dairy farms, rapeseed cultivation on approximately 1.4 million hectares in Germany is directly allocated to the utilisation of rapeseed oil in the fuels sector. Each hectare of rapeseed spares the import of an equivalent cultivated area of soya. With the domestic protein source of rapeseed, this so-called area and nutrient import, and thus also the discussion centred around indirect land use changes (iLUC), can be confronted.

The EU Commission and the EU Council of Ministers for the Environment are virtually hiding away from the iLUC debate repeatedly being pushed by environmental organisations. The annual slash-and-burn farming in Indonesia should be reason enough to finally take concrete action. Lower caps or the introduction of “iLUC-factors” do not salvage a single hectare of rainforest. The alternative is: Ban the accounting for biofuels made from palm oil for fulfilling quota commitments in the EU!