The EU measures against palm oil are unlikely to have a big environmental effect. But this will definitely toughen rivalry between the other vegetable oil (soy and rapeseed) producers on the EU market. These crops are less effective than palm oil and cultivation requires even more land, water and fertilizer. This European Commission decision has brought down palm oil prices, forcing palm oil producing countries to look for alternative markets, for example, China, and to increase production. This will ultimately endanger even larger forest masses in Southeast Asia, while the quality of arable soil in the EU will plummet because it will have to grow more alternative crops. An Oxfam report says that all actors of the biofuel value chain lined up 600 lobbyists and spent 14 million euros to influence the EUs new bioenergy sustainability policy during debates on RED II policy
Another issue currently being debated in the EU is the so-called meat tax, that is, additional levies on the producers of meat, dairy and egg products. The idea has received an additional push from a recent report commissioned by TAPP Coalition
, which linked growing meat consumption to environmental issues and climate change. The report is now being actively discussed in the EU.
The EU could be planning to use monetary approaches to changing its citizens tastes. A meat tax would increase meat prices by at least 20 percent, but the report claims that this would decrease EU beef consumption by 67 percent, pork by 57 percent and poultry meat by 30 percent by 2030.
However, the EU is willing to eat cultured (synthetic, artificial or in-vitro) meat, but not imported meat. Startup companies producing synthetic meat, which are popping up in the EU, could market their products as soon as 2022. At the same time, meat products remain a matter of dispute at the EU-MERCOSUR talks on a free trade zone. A meat tax would protect European farmers from their South American rivals.
A carbon border tax on polluting products/production is almost an accomplished fact for the EU. It will increase pressure mostly on steel and glass manufacturers and will almost rule out the imports of these products.
In other words, by taking these ostensibly environmental measures the EU aims to protect European producers rather than the environment, although this trade policy could have an extremely adverse effect on other countries and regions. Moreover, the EU hopes that its regulatory initiatives would encourage other countries to emulate its policy of environmental standards and sustainable production.
So far, the environmental agenda has been formed in the West, and it calls for restraining industrial development. But such artificial restrictions on growth can also result in pitting the global North against the global South.