Austrian CO2 reduction target "unrealistic"

International Energy Agency warns Austria over ambitious climate change strategy

Austria will find it difficult to meet its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction target, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In a report released yesterday, the IEA claims that the government's target to cut emissions by 20% of 1988 levels by 2005, does "not appear realistic" given existing trends. A similar criticism was made earlier this year by UN officials, who praised Austria's "ambitious" targets, but said no progress towards them could be observed (ENDS Daily 28 September). An official at the Austrian environment ministry told ENDS Daily that the 20% reduction target was currently "under discussion". Part of the difficulty in achieving the target was caused by disputes between the federal and state governments over measures to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency in the building sector, he said. Austria's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 13% under the Kyoto Protocol will "also be hard to reach," he added. The government is expected to produce a national strategy on climate change next March. Despite its criticisms of Austria's CO2 emissions policy, the IEA concludes that environmental concerns play "a dominant role" in the country's energy policy. This has led to substantial reductions in emissions of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, and "significant" progress in energy efficiency, the organisation states.

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