The move follows last week’s decision by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee to support the EC’s proposed limits on sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia (see related story). Instead of agreeing with the Council of Ministers’ view that the EC’s proposed limits are too tough, MEPs agreed that they are achievable in the timeframe outlined.

Now, the EC has added to the debate by releasing reports that outline the estimated costs and the predicted benefits of compliance with National Emission Ceilings (NECs). Economic Evaluation of a Directive on National Emission Ceilings for Certain Atmospheric Pollutants – Part B: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis states that:

    “Based on a ‘business-as-usual’ pre-Kyoto energy projection and a ‘pre-CAP reform’ agricultural scenario, the optimized set of emission reductions to achieve these targets would cut SO2 and NOX emissions by seven percent below the ‘current legislation’ case, VOCs by 11% and ammonia emissions by nine percent. These measures would increase total emission control costs by euros 7.5 billion per year, ie. by 13% [see related story]”

The cost-effectiveness report was completed in November 1999 and MEPs voting last week questioned whether the costs of implementing NECs would be as high as predicted. Some MEPs argue that other efforts, namely compliance with climate change commitments and reduced agricultural emissions once the Common Agricultural Policy is reformed, will create synergies with NEC compliance.

On the issue of benefits, Economic Evaluation of a Directive on National Emission Ceilings for Certain Atmospheric Pollutants – Part B: Benefits concludes that “the most important impacts in the benefits analysis [will be] those on human health and crops. Unlike some previous studies, it was found that the benefits from reduced impacts on agriculture offset a significant proportion of total costs”.

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