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European Politicians Agree New Emission Caps

October 30, 2015
Environmental Protection

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) have reached agreement on capping national emissions of six key pollutants up to 2030. The proposals agreed will cover sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), and fine particulates (PM2.5).

However, MEP’s decided against adopting more stringent limits put forward by the parliaments Environment Committee, drawing criticism from campaign groups. Louise Duprez, Senior Policy Officer at the European Environment Bureau, was one of many experts disappointed by the decision.

“With the Volkswagen scandal fresh in their minds, MEP’s had a major opportunity to right a wrong and take action to clean up Europe’s air,” she told website Business Green. “In the weeks and months ahead, they have a major responsibility to secure an outcome that is going to prevent the further loss of human life.”

It is estimated that the new proposals could save €40 billion in costs associated with poor air quality and halve the number of premature deaths attributed to air pollution by 2030. A target for ammonia was maintained, despite pressure from the agriculture sector that produces 95% of emissions within the EU.

New legislation which will have to be implemented by member states, will include interim emission targets to be measured in 2025. National government ministers in the European Council will now enter into negotiations with Parliament over the proposals before a final MEP vote, which is expected next year.