The Danish government’s hope to reduce the ammonia emission reduction obligations facing its agriculture was dealt a blow today by the EU.
EU’s environment commissioner Karmenu Vella told the climate and food product minister Eva Kjer Hansen in Brussels today that Denmark would have to steer the course based on its 2020 pledge made by the previous Helle Thorning-Schmidt-led government.
“It wasn’t very encouraging,” Hansen said according to DR Nyheder. “I must say that the commissioner was very resistant. He argued that it was the former Danish government which itself had pledged the figure and therefore we must live up to it.”
READ MORE: Denmark looking to reduce ammonia emission obligations
41 percent reduction since 1990
While the Danes are obligated to reduce ammonia emissions from the agriculture industry in Denmark by 24 percent by 2020, Poland has only pledged a 2 percent reduction, and Germany a 5 percent reduction. The EU average is a 6 percent reduction.
Hansen said that she had not given up efforts to reduce Denmark’s obligation and would discuss the issue with the EU member states individually, including Finland, which is also having trouble living up to its target.
Domestically, Hansen’s actions have been criticised by nature and climate advocates, but the agriculture sector definitely has her back.
“We’ve reduced our ammonia emissions by 41 percent from 1990-2013,” said Lars Hvidtfeldt, the deputy head of agriculture interest organisation Landbrug & Fødevarer. There is a need to reopen discussions concerning the obligations of each nation.”
“When Poland, for instance, only obligates to reduce its ammonia emissions by 2 percent, it is outrageous that we in Denmark must reduce by 24 percent. Particularly because Denmark has already undertaken a number of climate-improving air pollution initiatives that other EU nations haven’t.”