EU "should target even lower emission ceilings"

NGO study highlights Kyoto gap in NECs proposal, suggests two-thirds cost reduction possible

The EU could slash the bill for achieving proposed tight restrictions on air pollution by adopting a more ambitious stance on climate change, according to a report on the planned national emissions ceilings directive by three environmental groups. The cost-reduction would allow the bloc to aim for even tighter air pollution limits, it says. The groups claim the cost reduction is possible because the European Commission's analysis of emission abatement has two crucial flaws.

Produced by T&E, EEB and the Swedish NGO Secretariat on Acid Rain, the report says the cost of reducing acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone by up to 88% could be cut by 64% from the euros 7.5bn projected by the Commission.

The groups say this would become possible through the synergistic effects of implementing measures to achieve a fall of 15% in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 2010 - seven percentage points more ambitious than the actual commitment under the Kyoto protocol. The report also says the Commission's calculation only takes account of "end-of-pipe" abatement measures, and should include emission-reduction steps such as demand management, energy efficiency and fuel-switching.

As pointed out by MEPs last month, the Commission has not included Kyoto commitments in its calculations because EU states have been unwilling to divulge energy sector forecasts (ENDS Daily 12 January). An informal Commission calculation has already predicted the proposals' costs could be reduced "in the order of" 40% if the commitments were included.

As well as reducing the cost of the proposed cuts, the report says a "high-ambition" scenario, which the Commission rejected because its euros 16.2bn price-tag, would be reduced in cost to euros 4.2bn. The proposed cuts in ammonia, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons have been resisted, especially by southern member states, and have created a rift between them and the European Commission (ENDS Daily 30 November 1999).

Follow Up:
T&E, tel: +32 2 502 9909; EEB, tel: +32 2 289 1090; Swedish NGO Acid Rain Secretariat, tel: +46 31 711 4515. The report, "Getting more for less," can be found on the last organisation's web site.

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