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Air quality: MEPs back new national caps on pollutants

Member states insisted on excluding methane from the scope of the directive. However, the EU Commission confirmed that it could trigger a review on this point.

Thursday 24 November 2016 (2 years 16 days ago)
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Plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of key pollutants by 2030, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, won the support of MEPs on Wednesday. They had already been informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU per year.

The new legislation sets out national emission reduction commitments for sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), ammonia (NH3), and fine particulates (less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter).

The resolution was approved by 499 votes to 177, with 28 abstentions.

The proposed pollution cuts would reduce health impacts of air pollution by around 50% by 2030. According to the European Environment Agency, these pollutants come from various sources:

  • particulate matter (PM) is emitted mainly by heating, industry and transport,
  • NOx is emitted mainly by the transport sector,
  • SOx emissions come mostly from energy production and non-road transport,
  • almost all NH3 emissions come from agriculture,
  • CO emissions come from heating and transport, and
  • most methane (CH4) emissions come from the agriculture, waste and energy sectors.

Methane

Member states insisted on excluding methane from the scope of the directive. However, the EU Commission confirmed that it could trigger a review on this point.

Wednesady November 23, 2016/ EP/ European Union.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu

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