The fine art of ratification. Photo: Eric Schmuttenmaer/ BY-SA

EU ratifies the Gothenburg Protocol

On 17 July, the EU ratified the 2012 amendments to the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). The amendments establish national emission reduction commitments for five main air pollutants, and the EU must reduce its emissions from 2005 to 2020 as follows: sulphur dioxide -59%; nitrogen oxides -42%; ammonia -6%; volatile organic compounds -28%; and fine particulate matter -22%. In addition, emission limit values for several different air pollution sources have been updated.

Ratification by the EU has been on hold since 2013 pending the revision of the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) directive, which was adopted in December last year. The directive has been aligned with the amended protocol by integrating the new emission standards into EU law and by matching the national emission reduction commitments from 2020 to 2029. Moreover, the revised NEC directive includes more ambitious reductions from 2030 onwards.

The amendments will enter into force on the 90th day after its ratification by two-thirds of the 26 parties to the protocol. Member states are expected to individually ratify the protocol, but the only EU countries that have so far done so are Sweden and Slovakia.

Council statement:
The LRTAP Convention:

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