Ek happy with new limits on sulfur emissions

The European Union is close to strengthening limits on sulfur pollution from ships that pass between the Baltic Sea and North Sea, reports Swedish Radio.

From 2015, sulfur emissions in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and the English canal will be limited to 0.1 percent.

By 2020, the maximum sulfur emissions allowed in the EU will be limited to 0.5 percent.

"This means a great deal for people's health," says Lena Ek, Sweden's minister of the environment. "Bad fuels that are used on ships cause 50,000 premature deaths a year in Europe. We also have the issue of acidification that we've worked on for many years in Sweden."

The Swedish export industry has protested against what they see will be increased costs at sea.

"The problem is that we can't charge more," says Mårten Larsson, for the Swedish Forest Industries Federation, a lobby group for the forest industry.

He says countries outside of Europe will become more competitive. In the end, he says, the result will be higher emissions of sulfur into the atmosphere, not less.

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