European Interest

Apes protest EU rules on palm oil

Flickr/Austronesian Expeditions/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Orangutans at Samboja Lestari, Indonesian Borneo.

To protest the deforestation caused by the use of palm oil in biofuels, orangutans – activists in ape costumes – are slated to rally outside EU representation offices in Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, and Rome on January 21.

This is part of the campaign #NotInMyTank, which was launched in November by a coalition of environmental NGOs to stop the incentives that have caused a widespread use of palm oil in biodiesel.

Sylvain Angerand, campaign coordinator of Les Amis de la Terre France and founder of Canopée Forêts ViVantes (France), said: “The EU Commission must listen to the citizens and their representatives that massively reject the use of palm oil as a biofuel. It’s time to be clear and not to create a new loophole that will increase importation of palm oil.”

According to the coalition’s press release, a recent poll 82% still ignore that so called ‘green’ diesel contains palm oil.

Norway and France have recently taken measures to eliminate palm oil from biofuels after 2020.

The final decision sits with the European Commission that, by February 1st, must announce the new measures in its ‘delegated act’. As the final decision by the EU Commission nears, the apes have decided to gather by EU embassies in European capitals and in front of the Commission’s headquarter, Berlaymont, at Rond-Point Schuman at 11am.

Sascha Müller-Kraenner, director of Germany’s Deutsche Umwelthilfe, said: “Adding palm oil to biodiesel means that a precious product from rainforest regions is burned senselessly. Huge amounts of ‘certified’ palm oil are then no longer available to other markets such as the food sector. This madness must be stopped.”

According to Rosalía Soley of Spain’s Ecologistas en Acción, palm oil used as a fuel in the context of a polluting and unsustainable mobility system is causing the destruction of nature and the violations of human rights in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia and in Latin America. “That’s why we’ll take the streets in Madrid for the EU day of action”.

Giorgio Zampetti, Executive Director at Italy’s Legambiente, said: “People need to know there’s nothing ‘green’ or sustainable about palm oil in biodiesel. That is why on January 21st, the European day of mobilisation against palm-diesel, just like in other European capitals we will take the streets in Rome.”

In Portugal, Francisco Ferreira, president of ZERO, said: “It is time for Portugal, and especially for the European Commission, to respect the will of thousands of European citizens and to act by reversing the growing trend of unsustainable use of biofuels from raw materials with high environmental impacts, such as palm oil.”

From Belgium, Noé Lecocq of Inter-Environnement Wallonie (Belgium), said: “Belgians know palm oil and soy production can be very destructive of the environment and the climate. But most of them completely ignore that hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of palm oil and soy have been blended in the diesel fuel sold in Belgian gas stations last year. Once people know, most agree this should come to an end.”

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