The EU Biofuel Policy and Palm Oil: Cutting subsidies or cutting rainforest?

By Ivetta Gerasimchuk, Peng Yam Koh on September 9, 2013

The report seeks to address one of the blind spots in biofuel policy making, namely the increased use of palm oil in biodiesel produced and consumed in the European Union.

According to Oil World data, the EU biofuels industry has increased its use of palm oil as biodiesel feedstock by 365 per cent from 2006 to 2012, from 0.4 to 1.9 million tonnes per year. The additional demand can be linked primarily to the growth in biodiesel production stimulated by government policies during the same period. If the EU does not cut its current subsidies to biodiesel, it may, in an indirect way, lead to the cutting down of more rainforests, the conversion of more forest and peat land for palm oil plantations, and the emission of more carbon into the atmosphere.

Report details

Focus area
IISD, Friends of the Earth Europe, 2013