STAFF REPORTER THE Balearic Islands need to cut their gas emissions by 2.1 million tonnes if they are to succeed in meeting the Kyoto Agreement that will be effective as from 16 February.

An expert on climatic change, Carlos Contreras, who spoke at a conference in Palma yesterday, said that the new Balearic Energy Plan will hopefully reduce gas emissions by 1.3 million tonnes a year, and encourage people to save energy. The best ways to do so will allow the islands to cut their gas emissions by 0.8 million tonnes a year.

A new General Management Team for Climatic Change will soon be created and they will be responsible for keeping a continual check on the contaminating gas emission levels on the islands, announced the Minister for the Environment, Jaume Font, at yesterday's conference. The head of this new department will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

During “The Balearic Strategy to combat climatic change” conference, Font said that the gas emissions on the islands have significantly increased in recent years; levels were at 5.9 million tonnes in 1990 as compared to nearly 9 million that are generated currently. The result of this will mean the need to apply a system of effective controls in the tourism, services and housing sectors, he said.

Furthermore, the Balearic Government is planning to implement a new policy that will help reduce gas emissions that harm the environment and produce a greenhouse effect.

The new General Management Team which will be responsible for climatic change, will have an office available to them, so their tasks and administration work will be easier to manage. They will be responsible for co-ordinating with all the respective administration departments in energy sectors.

Contreras said that in order to reduce the islands contaminating gas emissions, the electrical production, land transport and housing sectors will have to be fiercely assessed and controlled.

The main culprits are the housing sector, the service sector and the consumption of fuel by private vehicles (67.8 percent of total gas emissions). The lesser contaminating sectors are industry, manufacturing and air transport sectors. Carbon dioxide and other contaminating gases on the islands are between 2.3 and 2.5 percent of total Spanish emissions, even though the Balearic population accounts for only 2 percent of the total Spanish population.