Updated: 25 June 2018
Palm Oil: Outcome of the Trilogue of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED II)
"The European Union (EU) is leading in the fight against climate change. The agreement reached on the revision of the EU Renewable Energy Directive includes a gradual reduction of the amount of certain categories of biofuels counted towards our ambitious renewable energy target. Biofuels will be assessed equally regardless of the source. The text will not single out, nor ban palm oil. The EU is and remains the most open market for Indonesian palm oil”.
EU Ambassador to Indonesia
EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II): 32% of renewable energy in the EU by 2030
An ambitious political agreement on increasing renewable energy use in Europe was reached on 14 June between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU (EU Member States).
The new regulatory framework includes a binding renewable energy target for the EU of at least 32% by 2030 against 27% so far, and maybe higher after a 2023 review. This will allow Europe to keep its leading role in the fight against climate change, in the clean energy transition and in meeting the goals set by the Paris Agreement, namely limiting global warming to 2°C, and achieving a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
- Sets a new, binding, renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of 32%, including a review clause by 2023 for an upward revision of the target
- Improves the design and stability of support schemes for renewables
- Delivers real streamlining and reduction of administrative procedures
- Establishes a clear and stable regulatory framework on self-consumption
- Increases the level of ambition for the transport and heating/cooling sectors
- Improves and clarifies sustainability of the use of bioenergy, recalling inter alia that biofuels shall not be made from raw material obtained from land with high biodiversity value, such as primary forests and other wooded land, protected areas or highly biodiverse grassland.
When RED II will become law?
Following this political agreement on 14 June, the text of the Directive will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Once endorsed by both co-legislators in the coming months, the updated Renewable Energy Directive will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and will enter into force 20 days after publication. EU Member States will have to transpose the new elements of the Directive into national law 18 months after its entry into force.
The agreement and palm oil
- There is no specific or explicit reference to palm oil in this agreement.
- The outcome in no way constitutes a ban or even a restriction on the imports of palm oil or palm-oil based biofuels. The relevant provisions in the Directive only aim to regulate to what extent certain biofuels can be counted by EU Member States towards reaching their sustainable energy targets.
- The EU market remains open to palm oil imports. The EU is Indonesia's second largest export market for palm oil, and EU imports had increased significantly in 2017, by 28%.
What is the future for biofuels in the EU?
- The text that has been agreed foresees that the contribution of certain categories of biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels produced from food or feed crops, namely those with high indirect land-use change (ILUC) risk and for which a significant expansion of the production area into land with high carbon stock is observed, will be limited to the 2019 consumption levels.
- In order to achieve the EU's renewable energy goals, this contribution is later to be phased out in 2030.
- Contributions from biofuels with low ILUC risk will be exempted from these limits according to objective criteria.
- The text does not single out palm oil - or any other crop. Rapeseed, sunflower, soy or palm oil will be treated equally according to the same criteria.
- The agreement calls for a Commission report on the status of production expansion of relevant food and feed crops worldwide by 1 February 2019.
- By 1 February 2019, the European Commission will adopt Delegated Act to establish criteria for certification for which feedstocks a significant expansion of the production area into high carbon land is observed. This will be done on the basis of the best scientific information available.
- The European Commission is committed to maintain a non-discriminatory and science-based approach in the report and delegated act.
Isn't the capping and phasing-out of biofuels from specific feedstocks incompatible with WTO rules?
- The text is not directed at any specific biofuel or feedstock. On the contrary, it establishes neutral and objective criteria to determine the contributions of biofuels to EU Member States renewable energy targets. Under this text, EU Member States will continue to be free to import and use biofuels and their feedstocks as they do under the current system.
- Therefore, once the text becomes law, it shall be compatible with the WTO provisions. The European Commission will make sure that any necessary implementing rules are fair, balanced and based on solid scientific evidence to ensure that the achievement of the EU's renewable energy goals goes hand in hand with the fair and rules-based international trade regime that we so strongly defend.
Factsheet in PDF format:
ENGLISH VERSION | VERSI BAHASA INDONESIA
European Commission press release:
Europe leads the global clean energy transition: Commission welcomes ambitious agreement on further renewable energy development in the EU
Official version of the compromise text agreed in the trilogue