The world of politics and diplomacy is often filled with double speak and gobbledygook designed to baffle and confuse the masses into pacification, and for evidence of this we only have to look towards the recent damage control announcements made by two prominent ambassadors of the EU. As the EU retreated into damage control mode recently over the revelations of governments, and the Environment Directorate of the European Commission’s, involvement and backhanded funding of green NGO’s campaigns against palm oil, the European Commission’s unseen hand could not be hidden despite prominent ambassador-speak.
Julian Wilson is the European Union ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam and he was quoted as saying recently as saying that “The European Union will not restrict Indonesia's CPO export and it can continue carrying out the export of the commodity as it is today.” He also went on to say that “Currently, Europe uses about 10 percent of the CPO it imports from Indonesia for biodiesel fuel,”. Meanwhile Vincent Piket, who is EU ambassador and Head of Delegation to Malaysia was trying to put a spin on EU RED saying that it was all exclusively about biofuels trade.
Says Piket: "For biofuels, the EU countries will be offering incentives to promote the use of sustainably produced fuels, including biodiesel. This will increase opportunities for third countries like Malaysia to export into the EU, by tapping the potential of a new market," the envoy said.
"Other biofuels can still be imported. In order to benefit from the incentives, biofuels have to meet the criteria defined in the EU RED. Biofuels which do not comply with these criteria, can however still be imported," he said.
Palm biodiesel can be eligible for incentives, Piket said, adding that the general default value for palm oil defined in the directive is 19 per cent (savings of green-house gas emissions as compared to fossil fuels).
"This is below the 35 per cent threshold for eligibility set in the EU RED. However, this does not mean that biodiesel from palm oil cannot fulfill the criteria," he said.
"Those suppliers who can show scientific data that their biofuels have a higher greenhouse gas saving than the threshold value will be eligible.
This type of thing is seen way too often and will do little to hide what is the real driving force behind these anti-palm oil campaigns, which is to protect the EU’s own indigenous edible oilseed industries such as sunflower and rapeseed oils, which are unable to compete with the hyper yielding palm oil in the open market.
Palm oil is so hyper yielding that each hectare planted with palm oil produces a staggering 4-5 metric tons of edible oil. That is almost 10 times the yield of soy and 5-7 times higher than the EU’s indigenous oilseed industries of rape and sunflower oil. Frighteningly so, but that yield for palm oil is just the average. Whilst rape and sunflower have about maxed out their genetic potential, palm oil’s is just beginning. Best in class plantations such as those in Sime Darby Plantations are already achieving 8 metric tons per hectare and R&D points to a genetic potential of 20 metric tons per hectare! Could this be the real reason for the EC to resort to funding these campaigns of subterfuge against palm oil? THE END