National Emissions Ceiling Directive

The targets set out in the Clean Air Package strategy are to be primarily delivered through: a directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants NECD and a Directive for Medium-sized Combustion Plants (MCPD). The NECD’s provisional agreement was reached June 30, 2016 and sets national ceilings (caps) for five pollutants (PM 2.5, SOx, NOx, amonia, and non-methane volatile compounds NMVOC). - The directive is intended to address the health risks and environmental impact of air, and to align EU law with international commitments (revised Gothenburg Protocol).

Key Points:

1. Emission levels for 2025 remain indicative (i.e. they have not become mandatory targets as requested by some stakeholders);

2. The adjustment of the emissions inventories mechanism – protecting the industry from more severe targets as a means to compensate for underperformance of other sectors - has been preserved beyond 2025;

3. The agreed national emission reduction commitments from 2030 onwards are more realistically achievable from a technical and economic point of view than those initially proposed;

4. Flexibility to comply with the limits will be allowed under certain circumstances. For instance, if one year a member state cannot fulfil its commitment due to an exceptionally cold winter or dry summer, this country will have the possibility to average out annual emissions with those of the preceding and subsequent year.

The national emission limits for each pollutant will stay the same for the period 2020-2029 to those which the member states have already committed in the revised Gothenburg protocol.

From 2025, indicative emission levels will be identified for each member state on the basis of a linear trajectory towards the emission limits that will apply from 2030. However, member states will have the possibility to follow a non-linear trajectory if this is more efficient.

New stricter reductions of the national emission limits should be expected from 2030 onwards.

The NEC proposal has only been in principle accepted by the European Parliament on June 30. However, before to come into force, the European Parliament still have to approve it in the Plenary, in the November 2016. Subsequently, the text will be submitted to the Council for final adoption at first reading.