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Reducing the high-ILUC-risk threshold to progressively halt deforestation, starting with soy, and accelerating the phase-out trajectory

Question écrite de M. Martin HÄUSLING - Commission européenne

Question de M. Martin HÄUSLING, M. Tiemo WÖLKEN, Mme Sira REGO,

Diffusée le 19 juillet 2023

Subject: Reducing the high-ILUC-risk threshold to progressively halt deforestation, starting with soy, and accelerating the phase-out trajectory

The global deforestation rate remains at a dramatically high level, driving ecosystems to the brink of collapse. In 2021, the EU signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration, which includes a commitment to working to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

In its Deforestation Regulation1, the EU lists soy and palm oil as two of the biggest drivers of deforestation. Still, both are currently eligible for the biofuel support schemes under the Renewable Energy Directive2 (RED).

During the recent RED revision, Parliament suggested immediately phasing out palm oil and reducing the high-ILUC3-risk threshold to include soy. The Commission is scheduled to assess whether to reduce the threshold and how to set the phase-out trajectory for high-ILUC-risk feedstocks by September 2023.

1. How does the Commission plan to achieve the EU’s target of halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030 without immediately reducing the high-ILUC-risk threshold to include soy and progressively reducing it to 0 % by 2030?

2. Several EU Member States have already phased out high-ILUC-risk commodities from their biofuel support schemes, demonstrating that more ambition is needed and possible. Why is the Commission hesitant to proceed with swiftly phasing out these feedstocks?

Submitted:20.7.2023

1 Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 2023 on the making

available on the Union market and the export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 (OJ L 150, 9.6.2023, p. 206).

2 Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the

promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82). 3 Indirect land-use change.

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 11 septembre 2023

Answer given by Ms Simson on behalf of the European Commission

(12 September 2023)

Under the Renewable Energy Directive (‘RED II’) (4), biofuels must fulfil sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria to count towards the renewable targets.

The directive also contains a limit for high indirect land use change (ILUC) risk biofuels and its Delegated Regulatio n (5) includes objective criteria to determine such biofuels based on the best available scientific evidence.

The Commission launched a study to prepare the review of the criteria. Furthermore, as mandated by the directive, the Commission is currently in the process of preparing the inclusion of a specific trajectory in the Delegated Regulation to phase out high ILUC-risk biofuels.

The Commission considers that biofuels produced from food and feed crops provide only limited contribution to decarbonisation. Under Article 26 of RED II, conventional biofuels are capped and Member States are given considerable discretion in deciding which types of conventional biofuels they support.

The Union has been pursuing a policy on combatting deforestation and forest degradation. This is reflected in different action plans (6), communications (7) (8) strategies (9), and specific legislation (Regulation on deforestation-free products, ‘EUDR’) (10).

1 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 2023 on the making available on the Union market and the export from the

Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 (OJ L 150, 9.6.2023, p. 206).

2 ∙ ⸱ Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

(OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82).

3 ∙ ⸱ Indirect land-use change.

4 ∙ ⸱ Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources,

OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82‐209.

5 ∙ ⸱ Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/807 of 13 March 2019 supplementing Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as

regards the determination of high indirect land-use change-risk feedstock for which a significant expansion of the production area into land with high carbon stock is observed and the certification of low indirect land-use change-risk biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels. 6 ∙ ⸱ Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament — Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) — Proposal for an

EU Action Plan, COM/2003/0251 final.

7 ∙ ⸱ Commission Communication of 17 October 2008 entitled ‘Addressing the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation to tackle climate change and

biodiversity loss’, COM(2008)0645.

8 ∙ ⸱ Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions:

Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests, COM/2019/352 final. 9 ∙ ⸱ EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (COM(2020) 380 final) and New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 (COM(2021) 572 final). 10 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 2023 on the making available on the Union market and the export from the

Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010, OJ L 150, 9.6.2023,




















| | ) This regulation provides market requirements for products placed on the EU market in the effort to stop EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation, while the RED II is energy-specific.

The RED II and EUDR requirements are compatible and mutually reinforcing and both aim to contribute to the overarching objective of fighting against climate change and biodiversity loss.

p. 206‐247.

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