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The European Environment Agency (EEA) has claimed that energy use is still risin ...

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has claimed that energy use is still rising in the European Union (EU), mainly because of increasing transport consumption, and has alleged that the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions could return to their 1990 levels by the year 2010 unless Brussels and Member States take firm action - this would include promoting renewable energy, writes Keith Nuthall. The report came as the EU ratified the Kyoto Protocol and also as the European Commission (EC) released figures showing that the EU has met its commitment under the treaty to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2000 - they were 3.5% lower than in 1990, although they rose slightly between 1999 and 2000. Other EU oil industry news includes: · Norway’s Statoil and Irish power supplier ESB have agreed to sell 600 MW of electricity on the open market in Ireland in order to secure EU competition approval for a joint venture, setting up the Synergen gas-fuelled electricity plant in Dublin. · Gas exploration companies working in the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea should be granted tax privileges following acceptance of a scheme by the Surveillance Authority of the European Free Trade Area. Companies will receive benefits regarding the depreciation of their allowable costs. · A suggestion that biofuels should be made exempt from excise duty within the EU has been made by the EU Committee of the Regions, which represents sub-national administrations such as Scotland. · The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has set up a $12mn leasing programme allowing medium-sized Russian companies to hire diesel and natural gas engines from US company Caterpillar. · The EU Council of Ministers has authorised Luxembourg to apply lower excise duty for low sulfur diesel, cutting the rate by up to euros 15 per 1,000 litres. · The Council has also banned the use of short-chain chlorinated paraffins in metalworking or the fat liquoring of leather. It has ordered that before January 2003, all remaining uses be reviewed by the European Commission. · An EBRD study on Estonia’s two main (oil shale-fired) electricity generators has concluded that significant investment will be required to enable them to attain EU environmental standards.

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