Good news from Brussels:

EU parliament aiming for faster phase-out of fuel with soy and palm oil

Members of the European Parliament voted this week to phase out soy and palm oil from the EU’s biofuel policies during 2023. This is a major victory for Rainforest Foundation Norway after years of campaigning.

On Wednesday 14th of September, the European Parliament adopted its position on the EU's renewable energy directive, RED III. As part of this, the parliament voted in favor of adopting a faster phase-out of palm oil and soy biofuels. Under the original RED I plan, palm oil was to be phased out of European biofuels by 2030, with no phase-out plan for soy in place.

Production of soy and palm oil leads to massive deforestation and threatens our last rainforests. The fact that MEPs now agree on phasing out both palm oil and soy from EU's biofuels policies, is an important step in the right direction for both the rainforest, biodiversity and local communities living in affected areas

Nils Hermann Ranum, head of the Drivers of Deforestation Program in Rainforest Foundation Norway.

Rainforest Foundation Norway and a number of other organizations have campaigned for several years to remove soy and palm oil from European biofuels policies. Earlier this year, Rainforest Foundation Norway and partners from Brazil, who are strongly affected by the expansion of the soy industry, met several decision-makers in Brussels to talk about the consequences of soy production.

"The European Parliament's yes to rapid phase-out is a major victory for Rainforest Foundation Norway and our allies. Together, we have worked hard to get legislators to understand the consequences of filling the tank with soy or palm oil," says Ranum.

The greenhouse gas emissions from using palm oil and soy as fuel exceed the emissions from fossil fuels. It is therefore crucial both for nature and the climate that Europe chooses other alternative fuels.

The final text will now be negotiated by the Parliament, the Commission and the Council. It is expected that this process will be concluded by the end of the year. The directive is scheduled to enter into force on 1 July 2023.

"Now it is important that the Commission and the Council support the decision by the elected representatives so that we can achieve this fast phase-out," says Nils Hermann Ranum, head of the Drivers of Deforestation Program in Rainforest Foundation Norway.

The European Parliament did not, however, use the opportunity to vote for a phase-out or reduction of food crops in biofuels in general, as strongly recommended,and also suggested by some groups in the parliament, to ease pressure on the global food crisis.