The 1999 Gothenburg Protocol is an international agreement aimed at reducing air pollution and its transboundary effects in Europe. It was adopted under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.
The main objective of the Gothenburg Protocol is to establish national emission ceilings for certain pollutants, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and ammonia (NH3). These pollutants are known to contribute to acidification, eutrophication, and ground-level ozone formation, which have adverse effects on human health, ecosystems, and the environment.
Key provisions of the Gothenburg Protocol include:
- Emission Reduction Targets: The protocol sets national emission reduction targets for each member country for the specified pollutants. These targets are based on scientific assessments of the environmental impacts and aim to achieve significant emission reductions by specific target years.
- Emission Limitation and Control Measures: The protocol encourages member countries to implement emission limitation and control measures to achieve the agreed reduction targets. This may include implementing technologies, adopting cleaner production processes, and implementing regulatory measures to reduce emissions from various sources, such as power plants, industrial facilities, transport, and agriculture.
- National Programs and Policies: Member countries are required to develop and implement national programs and policies to meet the emission reduction targets. These programs may include measures such as setting emission standards, promoting energy efficiency, promoting the use of cleaner fuels, and implementing pollution control measures.
- Monitoring, Reporting, and Review: The protocol establishes a system for monitoring and reporting emissions data from member countries. Regular reviews are conducted to assess the progress made by member countries in achieving the emission reduction targets and to identify areas where additional efforts are needed.
- Transboundary Air Pollution: The Gothenburg Protocol recognizes the transboundary nature of air pollution and emphasizes the need for international cooperation to address the cross-border impacts. It promotes collaboration among member countries in sharing information, best practices, and technologies to reduce air pollution and its transboundary effects.
The 1999 Gothenburg Protocol has been successful in driving emission reductions and improving air quality in Europe. It has contributed to the reduction of acid rain, the improvement of ecosystem health, and the protection of human health. The protocol has also served as a framework for further international agreements and actions to address air pollution and its impacts globally.