NGO defends Danish climate gas plan

Climate Network Europe criticises fluorocarbon industry "defensive position" on phase-out

Climate campaigners have sprung to the defence of Danish proposals for phasing out the three major industrial greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto protocol, accusing industry, which last month attacked the plan (ENDS Daily 21 February), of "defensive protection of a market niche" and "bullying the supply chain".

The Danish proposal, which is slated to reach parliament before summer, would make a "sizeable dent" in the country's Kyoto protocol emission cut commitment, according to Climate Network Europe (CNE). The use of hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride in Denmark created the equivalent of about 1.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 1997, compared with Denmark's total CO2 reduction target of 15m tonnes from 1990 levels under the Kyoto protocol, the group says.

The Danish proposals (ENDS Daily 24 January) reflect "a considered balancing of environmental priorities with industry's needs" with their gradual phase-out in applications between 2001-04, according to CNE's Jason Anderson. Danish planners had taken full account of issues such as energy efficiency of alternatives, he added. CNE's view runs directly contrary to recent lobbying by the European Fluorocarbon Technical Committee, which said analysis supported continued use of hydrofluorocarbons in particular.

Mr Anderson urged the EU to seek to reinforce legislation in Denmark and parts of Austria and Germany, in a plan it is in the early stages of developing. Climate Network Europe's only criticisms of Danish policy were that it failed to include an ecotax, as earlier suggested by Danish environment minister Svend Auken, and did not set phase-out dates for all substances as early as the group would have liked.

Follow Up:
Climate Network Europe, tel: +32 2 231 0180.

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