Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil rejects greenhouse gas emissions standards
4 November 2009
Commenting on a decision by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) today not to include greenhouse gas emissions standards in its certification criteria, Friends of the Earth's biofuels campaigner Kenneth Richter said:
"By refusing to bring greenhouse gas emission standards into their certification scheme, palm oil producers have themselves answered the question of whether palm oil can be a sustainable biofuel - with a resounding no.
"Clearing forests to expand oil palm plantations is increasing carbon dioxide emissions. It's also having a devastating impact on forest communities by trashing the very resources they rely on for food and shelter.
"Europe's tactic of relying on certification schemes such as the RSPO to ensure the sustainability of biofuels is in tatters.
"Biofuels are not the answer to our energy woes - the EU target should be scrapped. Rich countries must focus their attention on developing clean, green transport alternatives to cars, such as fast and affordable rail services and better facilities for cycling and walking."
Notes to editors
- In April 2009, research by Friends of the Earth showed that biofuels could have doubled the carbon dioxide emissions of the fossil fuels they replace - equivalent to putting half a million extra cars on the road - since a new law adding them to UK fuel came into force in April 2008. http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/biofuels_double_carbon_emissions_15042009.html
- Modelling by the UK Department for Transport estimates that by 2020 45 per cent of Europe's biodiesel could come from Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil, equalling additional demand for palm oil of approximately 14 billion litres (source: "Global and EU Biofuel Scenarios to 2020" presentation, Taro Hallworth, Department for Transport).
- Palm oil producers know they cannot meet EU minimum greenhouse gas saving criteria for biofuels to be accounted under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED): the EU minimum is 35 per cent rising to 60 per cent in 2017. The default value for palm oil biofuel is 19 per cent.
- Friends if the Earth International has published a list of loopholes of the RSPO, including its failure to stop deforestation caused by the expansion of palm oil production. More information available at http://www.foei.org/en/media/archive/2009/certified-palm-oil-not-a-solution
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