‘Palm oil diesel to be phased out by 2030’ – IrBEA

According to James Cogan of the Irish Bioenergy Association’s (IrBEA’s) transport team, the new EU Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II) is seen as “progress yes; but not much drive in transport”.

According to Cogan, palm oil diesel will be phased out by 2030. He explained: “Palm oil diesel [for the EU economy] has resulted in hundreds of thousands of hectares of peatland and forest being drained and burnt, sending more CO2 and methane into the atmosphere than if the unknowing drivers had stuck to regular diesel.”

He added: “Palm oil diesel does not compliment farmers or Europe’s rural economies. Europe needs to improve its governance systems in the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. The directive is very light on this aspect.”

Cogan explained that if double-counting and optional contributions are excluded then the hard target for transport renewables is in actuality 3.5% or less, which is no more than what Europe has today.

He claimed: “If the steady increase of 1-3% each year in transport is factored in, the end result is a significant net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

“As for the optional 7%, this is reserved for crop-derived biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel [from grain, beet and rapeseed]. But a country cannot exceed the amount of this fuel that it was using in 2020, so if a country is at 4% crop-derived biofuels in 2020, it cannot go to 7% in 2030.”

EU potential

Cogan explained that this may be better than the European Commission’s intention of cutting such biofuels to 3.8%, but it says that it is disappointing “when one considers the potential for EU-sourced crop-derived biofuels to safely and effectively contribute to climate action, while at the same time providing EU farmers with secure farm income, lots more GMO-free and antibiotic-free protein feed and long-term investment in rural communities.”

Cogan says that RED II was a lost opportunity for Europe to exclude countries which haven’t signed the Paris Climate Agreement from supplying energy into our transport markets, a measure which he says is good for climate action, Europe’s farmers and producers.