Swedish emissions figures disappoint on CO2

Latest annual statistics confirm Kyoto target in jeopardy despite progress with cleaner technology

Sweden's latest set of annual emissions statistics confirm that, on present form, the country is unlikely to meet its target under the Kyoto protocol. Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) emissions have risen 3.7% since 1990, the base year for measurements, edging up a further 200,000-300,000 tonnes to 57.3m tonnes in 1998, according to official figures published last week. This makes it "virtually 100% certain" that a government target of achieving stabilisation by 2000 as a prelude to subsequent reductions will fail to be met, an official from the national environment protection agency told ENDS Daily. Under the Kyoto protocol, Sweden has to restrict emissions growth to 4% by 2008, but rising traffic volumes and industrial growth mean that, despite success in developing cleaner technology, this target is also unlikely to be met, the official added. The whole issue is being addressed by a parliamentary committee charged with drawing up an integrated Swedish strategy on climate change. This was originally due to report in December, but the deadline has now been postponed to March. Last week's emissions statistics did contain some good news, however. Cleaner vehicle technology helped cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 5% in 1998, while sulphur dioxide emissions dropped from 50,000 to 48,000 tonnes.

Follow Up:
Swedish EPA, tel: +46 698 1000; Swedish environment ministry, tel: +46 8 405 1000. Details of the climate committee's work are available on the government's sustainable development web site.

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