Air quality should remain a priority for the EU

As a gaseous fuel, LPG burns cleaner than most solid and liquid alternatives, and therefore it helps addressing air pollution in residential, industry and transport sectors.

The recent rise of climate change to the top of the policy agenda has at times diminished the attention given to the broader issue of environmental protection. Preserving Europe's air, water, and soil quality remains a key task for policy-makers and should remain a priority for the European Union, particularly given its potential impact on the health of humans and other living things.

Pollution resulting from the combustion of liquid and solid fuels is a source of particular concern both in Europe and around the world. This is particularly apparent in urban areas, where air pollution continues to take an unacceptable toll on human health. As the World Health Organization puts it:

"Air pollution is a major environmental health problem affecting developed, emerging, and developing countries around the world. Increasing amounts of potentially harmful gases and particles are being emitted into the atmosphere on a global scale, resulting in damage to human health and the environment. It is damaging the resources needed for the long-term sustainable development on the planet."

Similarly, the production, distribution and transport of many industrial products can lead to damage to the natural environment, specifically the soil and water.

The LPG industry is particularly proud of LPG's status as a genuinely environmentally friendly energy source. Compared to their liquid and solid fuel counterparts, gaseous fuels such as LPG generate extremely low levels of pollutant emissions, making them an ideal means of meeting citizens' energy needs without compromising local air quality. Moreover, LPG does not suffer from significant fugitive emissions during storage or distribution and is, in any case, not harmful to the environment or human health. An extensive search [1] of available literature did not identify any references to ecotoxycological effects for LPG or its primary constituents. For this reason, unlike the vast majority of petroleum products, LPG was exempted from the registration, evaluation and downstream user provisions of REACH, the EU's flagship Regulation on chemicals.

Liquid Gas Europe's Key Messages for Policy-Makers on Air Quality

  • The need to address the issue of climate change must not detract from the importance of environmental protection in a broader sense.
  • Europe can and should do more in this area, particularly as regards air quality, which remains unacceptably poor in many of Europe's cities.
  • As an inherently clean and environmentally friendly gaseous fuel with a wide range of applications, LPG can contribute to Europe's environmental policy objectives.

[1] CONCAWE, Liquefied Petroleum Gas n°92/102