A European Union Renewable Energy Directive that will start in 2024 to phase out palm oil-based biofuel, including from Indonesia, can still be revised and changed, a diplomat with the EU Delegation to Indonesia and Brunei said on Tuesday (17/9).
Speaking during a luncheon with the Jakarta Foreign Correspondent Club (JFCC) in Jakarta, Charles-Michel Geurts, Charge D’Affaires Ad Interim of the EU Delegation to Indonesia and Brunei, said that there was actually no EU ban on palm oil, there was no law or legislation singling out palm oil, but a legislation that will phase out incentives to palm oil as biodiesel in Europe between 2024 and 2030.
“Nothing effective yet, the system has not yet kicked off, and will kick off in five years,” Geurts said.
“So, the regime as its stands starts in 2024, five years from now. We have a window of opportunity during these five years to work on sustainable palm oil,” he added.
He explained that under a new EU Renewable Energy Directive, palm oil can continue to be subsidized by member states in order to reach their renewable energy targets and they are accounted for as renewable energy until 2020 when the amount of incentive on palm oil biodiesel would be frozen at the level of 2019. From 2024 to 2030, there will be a phasing out of considering palm oil as renewable energy.
He said that the legislation itself was dynamic and will undergo two revisions.
“We will revise all the data in 2021 based on the latest recorded impact of all those sustainability policies that Indonesia and Malaysia, and other palm oil producers are doing,“ Geurts said.
He said he understood that a lot of Indonesian said that the data used by the EU and the reference period of 2008-2015 were challengeable and thus, the data revision will have the latest data including the expansion of palm oil took place in abandoned or degraded land, or had caused further deforestation and encroachment of peatland.
“We’ll have a major data revision in 2021, leading to a revision of the regulation in 2023 if the change in data is what we need to revise our criteria,” he said, adding that the revisions would be done for all commodities, not only on palm oil but other oil-producing crops such as soybeans.
“One message that I’d like to pass on today is, that we have a big window of opportunity at the time when nothing changes, to work with producers on sustainable palm oil,” he said.