Following agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, the new directive setting National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) has been agreed setting stricter limits on the five main pollutants in Europe. The new legislation will enter into force on 31 December 2016. Member States will have until 30th June 2018  by which time the new Directive will reduce by almost 50% the negative health impacts of air pollution, such as respiratory diseases and premature death, by 2030.

Congestion charges and CO2 taxation of cars are the most effective instruments in steering households towards sustainable consumption, a Swedish study has found.

Environment ministers from the European Union member states adopted on Friday (6 March) an official EU emissions reduction pledge to be presented at United Nations climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.

The EU's official contribution will be a target of a 40% cut in emissions by 2030, compared to levels emitted in 1990. The target has to be achieved domestically rather than through offsets that allow member states to buy into carbon-cutting schemes outside Europe.

The European Commission’s proposal to regulate methane under the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive should be binned, according to MEP Jan Huitema of the liberal ALDE group.

He also stated that the 27% reduction target proposed for ammonia for 2030 relative to 2005 levels should be watered down, while an interim target for ammonia emissions in 2025 should be scrapped.


Under draft legislation approved by the Environment Committee the CO2 emission limit for new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU is to be reduced from the current 203 g/km to 175 g/km after 2017 and 147 g/km by 2020. The text, already informally agreed with EU ministers, also paves the way for achieving further reductions after 2020, and provides for the introduction of a new test protocol.

The European Parliament should have the right to decide where and when it meets, the Constitutional Affairs Committee has argued. The Parliament is currently obliged by the Treaties to hold 12 monthly plenary sessions in Strasbourg. MEPs hope to initiate an EU treaty revision procedure to propose the changes needed to allow Parliament to decide on the location of its seat and its internal organisation. Such a move would help save money in times of budget cuts and reduce damage to the environment.

New rules to make the outboard engines used in sports and leisure watercraft safer and cut their pollutant exhaust emissions by 20% got the thumbs up from the European Parliament during plenary in Strasbourg. Parliament backed a European Commission proposal to impose tougher exhaust emission limits on watercraft, to reduce nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions. Small firms making small engines will have six years to comply, compared with three years for larger ones. Parliament also scrapped potentially misleading names of boat design categories.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has argued that society at large, rather than the shipping industry alone, should shoulder the burden and cost of compliance with stringent emission control standards such as sulphur regulations. The IMO added that in order to cut emissions from shipping proper quality standards for fuel oil should be implemented, as part of its Rio+20 sustainable development goals. The document outlines goals in 10 areas of global shipping and governance, four of which are related to the environment.