UK likely to be hard hit by revised SO2 protocol

Negotiations on a new international agreement to control emissions of sulphur dioxide have concluded that it would be too costly to bring acid deposition below the "critical load" for all sensitive ecosystems. But even with a less demanding target the UK will be under pressure to cut its emissions by almost 90% from 1980 levels, possibly by as early as 2000.

Officials from more than 30 European and North American countries met in Geneva on 1-5 March to lay the foundations for an SO2 protocol under the 1979 Geneva Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution.

The new agreement will succeed a 1985 protocol which obliged countries to reduce their SO2 emissions by a uniform 30% from 1980 levels by 1993. The UK was one of five nations which failed to ratify the protoc

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