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Story Publication logo October 11, 2022

Biodiesel & Deforestation, the Eco-Farce of ENI and Total (Italian)

Fueling deforestation

Tracking forest-killing biodiesel from European gas station down to plantations in Indonesia

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This story excerpt was translated from Italian. To read the original story in full, visit Il Fatto Quotidiano. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

GREENWASHING - "Green diesel" is made from palm oil, obtained through the destruction of forests (the EU ban is still not in place): 3200 hectares of green lung have been devastated since 2008. The Consumer and Market Authority has already sanctioned ENI with a 5 million euro fine for misleading advertising. Image courtesy of Il Fatto Quotidiano.

ENI and Total (like all European biofuel producers) have so far passed off diesel made from deforestation-causing palm oil as "environmentally friendly," cloaked behind their certificates under the law. Not surprisingly, last week the European Parliament voted for an immediate ban on palm oil.

Information obtained by Il Fatto unmasks the two energy giants, Italian and French, which together hold a record number of gas stations in Europe and Italy (Europe's second largest producer of biodiesel after Germany and Spain).

Technically, the biodiesel sold by the two companies complies with the EU certification system. But it is precisely this mechanism that offers legal loopholes that have allowed operators to continue importing palm oil without guaranteeing effective environmental and climate sustainability, even though it is required by European regulations.

This, since 2009, has required member states to replace fossil fuels with an increasing share of eco-fuels to combat global warming (14 percent for transport by 2030). In doing so, however, the EU has ended up incentivizing demand for palm oil to produce biodiesel and the conversion of tropical jungles to palm fruit plantations, contributing to the release of CO2. Over the past 20 years, about one-third has been lost.

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