European Parliament confirms less ambitious protection targets at the expense of EU agriculture

The European Parliament has formally approved the results of the trilogue on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive. The German Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP - Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants) reiterates its critical position of the decision, which the EU Council of Ministers will also shortly be following. Climate protection in the transport sector and European agriculture will be the ultimate losers, it reports.

The association notes that the sustainably available cultivation potential in the European Union is not being properly used and taken into consideration. For years, European agriculture has been struggling with surpluses and price pressure on international markets. This pressure will increase in the face of this resolution, because biofuels from cultivated biomass, such as rapeseed, grain, etc. will be limited to the level of sales in 2020. UFOP also questions whether the resolution to phase out palm oil as a raw material by the end of 2030 will actually be implemented. Instead, this mechanism threatens to be sacrificed to political and trading interests in the event that Indonesia acts on its threat not to order any more aeroplanes from the EU. The petroleum company Total also appears to be unfazed, having announced its intention to produce hydrated vegetable oil at its La Mede refinery location with a capacity of 500,000 t, predominantly from palm oil. Following protests by French farmers, Total finally promised a raw material share of 50,000 tons of rapeseed.

The resolution, moreover, also provides that the member states shall be authorised to reduce the transport target of 14 % renewable energy in the transport sector by the same amount as they lower the cap on cultivated biomass. This means that the increase from 10% to 14% is anything but ambitious for being able to reach the climate protection target in the transport sector. In addition, with the virtual multiple crediting of biofuel from waste and residues (2x), electromobility (4x) and for power consumption in rail transport (1.5x), the physical contribution to climate protection has been statutorily reduced. How this funding policy approach is to be reconciled with the climate protection targets that the member states must submit by the end of 2019 as part of their national climate and energy plans remains a mystery, according to UFOP. It argues that ambitious action against climate change, which reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate is becoming increasingly urgent, looks very different.