Dutch chemicals firms claim emissions success

Most 2000 targets set in 1993 voluntary agreement with government already met, says association

A voluntary commitment by the Dutch chemicals industry to reduce emissions has "far surpassed expectations," officials say. Targets for 51 of the 61 compounds covered by the 1993 agreement with the Dutch government have been reached two years early, the Dutch chemical industry association, VNCI, announced when presenting its annual report last week.

The environmental covenant has the aim of achieving a sustainable society within one generation. The emissions reductions due to be achieved by the end of 2000 were in fact mostly attained during 1998, the association said. Definitive figures for 2000 are not yet available, but the association said industry has more than kept to its agreements. It made a plea for any future covenants to be restricted to the compounds where the targets had not yet been fulfilled.

Moreover, benchmark reductions set in 1993 for the year 2010 have already been achieved for 23 of the compounds, the association said. One of the most stubborn has proved to be nitrogen oxides: the association is developing a model to help direct investments into the most cost-effective areas, and says it hopes to publish proposals later this year. The sector has also succeeded in increasing energy efficiency. This has already been cut by 20% over the baseline year of 1989, largely due to expanded use of cogeneration.

Follow Up:
VNCI, tel: +31 70 337 8787.

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