Baltic to be Kyoto Protocol guinea pig

Nordic and Baltic environment ministers plan to use the Baltic Sea region as a ‘testing ground’ for life under the Kyoto Protocol’s demands.

Norwegian Environment Minister Siri Bjerke announced on 12 September that the area would test the commitments of 1997’s Kyoto Protocol, such as reducing greenhouse gases emissions by an average 5.2% below 1990’s levels among industrialised nations by 2008-2012.

“I think it is a very important step in the right direction in order to gain experience with common projects in the Baltic Sea region before the operative phase under the Kyoto Protocol”, Bjerke said.

The Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Icelandic environment ministers agreed at a meeting in Bornholm, Denmark, this week to work toward co-operation and joint implementation of the Kyoto mechanisms as soon as possible. Bjerke announced that the countries will work towards the establishment of an investment fund to finance the joint implementation and will collectively research how to establish a greenhouse gas quota market for the Nordic region.

The expected cost of the project is expected to be 150 million Danish Krone (£12.25 million) which will be met by the Nordic governments. The proposals on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Baltic area to Kyoto levels will also involve Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, although they are not expected to have to contribute towards costs.

A spokesperson for the Norwegian government told edie that Norway faces “a lot of hard work” to meet its Kyoto commitments for greenhouse gas emissions. At present, Norway’s emissions are expected to rise 28% above 1990’s levels, when only a one percent increase will be permitted under the Kyoto Protocol, the spokesperson said.

The ministers presented issues to European Union Environment Commissoner, Margot Wallstrom and requested that they be given an account of the environmental state of affairs of all applicant countries to the EU at a meeting scheduled on October 10.

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