Poll says Europeans against palm oil but don’t know it’s in their tanks

November 21, 2018 |

In Belgium, Transport & Environment says the vast majority of Europeans don’t know they’re putting palm oil in their tanks when filling up with diesel and are opposed to it. In a poll of 4,500 Europeans conducted in nine countries by Ipsos, 82% of citizens surveyed were not aware of the fact that diesel fuel has palm oil added to it. When asked whether they would support measures to end policy support and subsidies for palm oil in biodiesel in Europe, 69% of respondents said they would welcome the change, with only 14% against it and 16% with no opinion on the matter.

Italians and Hungarians express the strongest opposition to burning palm oil in cars and trucks (75%), followed by the French (71%), the British (69%) and the Poles (69%). The survey shows there is strong public support across Europe for the European Parliament and Member States decision to phase out the use of palm oil in diesel fuel. The EU Commission has until 1 February 2019 to publish a delegated act establishing the science-based criteria to execute the progressive elimination of palm oil in diesel.

Palm oil expansion to feed cars in Europe drives deforestation and peatland drainage in Southeast Asia. Biodiesel made from palm oil is three times worse for the climate than fossil diesel. Last year, 51% of the palm oil used in Europe ended up in the tanks of cars and trucks. This makes drivers the top (albeit unaware) consumers of palm oil in Europe.

An international coalition of environmental NGOs in Belgium (Fédération Inter-Environnement Wallonie), Brussels (Transport & Environment), France (Amis de la Terre and Canopeé), Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe and Nabu), Italy (Legambiente), Portugal (Zero), Spain (Ecologistas en Acción), Sweden (the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) and the Netherlands (Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands) – and more are expected to join – today launched a campaign to urge the Commission to execute the phase-out of palm oil in diesel in a delegated act by February 1, 2019.

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