The consumption of palm agro-diesel continues to grow dangerously in Europe

The consumption of palm agro-diesel continues to grow dangerously in Europe

Palm oil contributes three times more to climate change than fossil diesel. However, the new draft of the energy policy to combat climate change continues to maintain its inclusion in the directive on renewable energies at 3.8% beyond 2020.

Spain, Italy and the Netherlands produce about 80% of palm agrodiesel within the EU, but consume only 38%.

Palm oil consumption continues to grow throughout the European Union, as documented in a report published last week by Transport & Environment, the translation of which was presented today by Ecologists in Action.

In total terms there has been a 1.6% increase in imports of this oil compared to 2015, reaching 7.3 million tons. In 2005, 46% of these imports were used for the production of agro-diesel, which represents a growth of 2.6% over the previous year. In this way the energy uses of palm oil already exceed those of food and chemicals.

According to the report presented, it is estimated that the use of 0.92 million hectares is necessary to supply the European market for palm agro-diesel. As a result, the European policy on renewable energy prior to 2020 will reduce the world area dedicated to food production by 0.6%, which is equivalent to the size of Portugal.

Bad policy for the weather

The previous analysis of the Globiom study on emissions associated with biofuels due to changes in land use clearly shows how palm oil represents 303% more emissions than fossil diesel. This means that biofuels will increase European emissions by 4% in 2020, which is equivalent to 12 million vehicles.

The non-discrimination of different biofuels, as well as the enormous deficiencies in the certifications, mean that the cheapest oils are the ones that dominate the European market. According to Oil World, palm oil is the cheapest in the last 15 years, which makes it the main raw material used to manufacture agro-diesel. If the rest of the world used the same amount of palm agrodiesel as the EU, 4.3 million hectares of tropical land would be needed, equivalent to the total of the peat forests of Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, leaders in the production of agro-diesel in Palma

Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are the main producers of palm agrodiesel, representing 80% of the total European market. Our country - together with Italy - is one of the largest consumers of this oil at European level: both countries consume two thirds of what they produce. However, most of the production in the Netherlands is exported.

However, the palm oil problem is an EU problem, since the aggregate consumption of these three countries represents only 38% of the total European consumption of palm agrodiesel. A European response is therefore needed to address the burning of these climate-damaging oils.

Given the enormous climatic consequences of the consumption of palm oil for agrodiesel, Ecologistas en Acción states that no type of biofuel obtained from biomass should be included as a renewable objective, especially with regard to the shared effort regulations. As long as these remain included within European energy policy, these climate-damaging forms of energy will continue to be incentivized.

Full report:

More information: Javier Andaluz, responsible for Climate Change and Bioenergy at Ecologistas en Acción, 645 518 104
Roberto Herreros Press
Confederation of Ecologists in Action
915 31 27 39 | 617 02 64 32

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