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EEA-33 emissions of a number of compounds categorised as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have decreased between 1990 and 2011, including hexachlorobenzene (HCB) by 96%, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) by 95%, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by 73%, dioxins & furans by 84%, and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by 58%. While the majority of individual countries report that POP emissions have fallen during this period, a number report that increases in emissions of one or more pollutants have occurred.
In 2011, the most significant sources of emissions for these POPs included the sectors 'Commercial, institutional and households' (61% for PAHs, 19% of HCB, 39% of dioxins and furans, 15% of PCB emissions) and 'Industrial processes' (43% of HCB, 75% of HCH, 38% of PCB emissions).
Important emission sources of PAH include residential combustion processes (open fires, coal and wood burning for heating purposes etc.), industrial metal production processes, and the road transport sector. Emissions from these sources have all declined since 1990 as a result of decreased residential use of coal, improvements in abatement technologies for metal refining and smelting, and stricter regulations on emissions from the road transport sector.
Environmental context: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemical substances that persist in the environment, have potential for biomagnification through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. This group of substances includes unintentional by-products of industrial processes (such as PAHs, dioxins and furans) pesticides (such as DDT) and industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). All share the property of being progressively accumulated higher up the food chain, such that bioaccumulation in lower organisms to relatively low concentrations can expose higher consumer organisms, including humans, to potentially harmful concentrations. In humans they are also of concern for human health because of their toxicity, their potential to cause cancer and their ability to cause harmful effects at low concentrations. Their relative toxic/carcinogenic potencies are compound specific, but in general the major concerns are centred on their possible role in causing cancer, neurobehavioral, immunological and reproductive disorders. More recently concern has also been expressed over their possible harmful effects on human development.
Across the EEA-33 countries, emissions of lead have decreased by 89%, mercury by 66% and cadmium by 64% between 1990 and 2011. For each substance, the most significant sources in 2011 are from energy-related fuel combustion, particularly from public power and heat generating facilities, and from industrial facilities.
Much progress has been made since the early 1990s in reducing point source emissions of cadmium and lead (e.g. emissions from industrial facilities). This has been achieved through improvements in, for example, abatement technologies for wastewater treatment, incinerators and in metal refining and smelting industries, and in some countries by the closure of older industrial facilities as a consequence of economic re-structuring.
In the case of mercury, the observed decrease in emissions may be largely attributed to improved controls on mercury cells used in industrial processes (e.g. in the chlor-alkali process) including the replacement of old mercury cells by diaphragm or membrane cells, and the general decline of coal use across Europe as a result of fuel switching.
The promotion of unleaded petrol within the EU and in other EEA member countries through a combination of fiscal and regulatory measures has been a particular success story. EU Member States have completely phased out the use of leaded petrol, a goal that was regulated by Directive 98/70/EC. From being the largest source of lead emissions in 1990, when it contributed around 76% of the EEA-33 total for lead, emissions from the road transport sector have decreased by nearly 98%. Nevertheless, the road transport sector still remains an important source of lead, contributing around 12% of total lead emissions in the EEA-33 region. However since 2004 little progress has been made in reducing emissions further; 97.9% of the total reduction from 1990 emissions of lead had been achieved by 2004.
Environmental context: Heavy metals (such as cadmium, lead and mercury) are recognised as being toxic to biota. All are prone to biomagnification, i.e. being progressively accumulated higher up the food chain, such that bioaccumulation in lower organisms at relatively low concentrations can expose higher consumer organisms, including humans, to potentially harmful concentrations. In humans they are also of direct concern because of their toxicity, their potential to cause cancer and their potential ability to cause harmful effects at low concentrations.
The relative toxic/carcinogenic potencies of heavy metals are compound specific, but exposure to heavy metals has been linked with developmental retardation, various cancers and kidney damage. Metals are persistent throughout the environment, and cadmium, lead and mercury are among those heavy metals that are already a focus of international and EU action. These substances tend not just to be confined to a given geographical region, and thus are not always open to effective local control. For example, in the case of cadmium, much is found in fine particles which do not readily dry-deposit, and therefore have long residence times in the atmosphere and are subject to long-range transport processes.
The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) is a web-based register established by Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 which implements the UNECE PRTR Protocol, signed in May 2003 in Kiev.
Eutrophication The magnitude of the risk of ecosystem eutrophication and its geographical coverage has diminished only slightly over the years. The predictions for 2010 and 2020 indicate that the risk is still widespread over Europe. This is in conflict with the EU's long-term objective of not exceeding critical loads of airborne acidifying and eutrophying substances in sensitive ecosystem areas (National Emission Ceilings Directive, 6th Environmental Action Programme, Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution).
Acidification The situation has considerably improved and it is predicted to improve further. The interim environmental objective for 2010 (National Emission Ceilings Directive) will most likely not be met completely. However, the European ecosystem areas where the critical load will be exceeded is predicted to have declined by more than 80 % in 2010 with 1990 as a base year. By 2020, it is expected that the risk of ecosystem acidification will only be an issue at some hot spots, in particular at the border area between the Netherlands and Germany.
Most vegetation and agricultural crops are exposed to ozone levels exceeding the long term objective given in the EU Air Quality Directive. A significant fraction is also exposed to levels above the 2010 target value defined in the Directive. Compared to 2009, the ozone indicators show a mixed behavior Averaged over all rural background stations, the concentration relevant for the exposure of crops is slightly higher. However, the agricultural area exposed to concentrations above the target value did not increase in 2009 and 2010 compared to previous years, but the area exposed to levels between 12 000 and 18 000 (µg/m 3 ).hour is larger than in the previous years. With respect to the exposure of forests, the concentrations are similar compared to previous years.
The effect-related concentrations, addressing exposure of crops to ozone over several summer months, show large year-to-year variations. Over the period 1996-2010 there is a tendency to increased exposure until 2006; and a tendency to decreasing levels after 2006. However, due to the large year-to-year variations, this development has not proven to be statistically significant.
AOT40 for crops are vegatation exposure related indicators and are based on rural background station observation only.
Exposure of agricultural area to ozone (exposure expressed as AOT40 in (μg/m3).hour) in EEA member countries . In the Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC) the target value for protection of vegetation is set to 18000 (μg/m3).h while the long-term objective is set to 6000 (μg/m3).hour. Until 2006 Iceland, Norway Switzerland and Turkey have not been included in the analyses due to lack of detailed land cover data and/or rural ozone data, in 2007 Switzerland and Turkey are not included; since 2008 only Turkey is not included
The gradient of the AOT40f values is similar to those of the AOT40c for crops: relative low in northern Europe, and the highest values observed in the countries around the Mediterranean.
The critical level is met in north Scandinavia, Ireland, part of the UK and in the coastal regions of the Netherlands (total forested area with concentrations below the critical level is 22 % of a total area of 1.44 million km2). In south Europe levels may be as high as 4-5 times above the critical level.
Please consider that Ssince 2004 a growing number of member countries has been included. In 2004 Bulgaria, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, and Turkey have not been includedwere added. In For 2005/2006 Iceland, Norway Switzerland and Turkey are were still excluded in the analyses due to lack of detailed land cover data and/or rural ozone data. In 2007 Switzerland and Turkey are were not included. Since 2008 only Turkey is has not beennot included. Calculations of forest exposure are not available for year prior to 2004.
There are several methods for accounting for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The European Environment Agency (EEA) explains the key characteristics of different emissions accounting methods, highlighting the need for methodological improvements as well as better data coverage and quality.
The aim of this technical report is to explain to a wider audience the concepts and methodologies behind different air emission accounting perspectives and the resulting emissions data at the EU level. In brief, there are three of these different accounting perspectives: territorial, production and consumption.
In 2012, the average new van sold in the European Union emitted 180.2 g of carbon dioxide for every kilometre travelled, which is close to the 175 g CO2/km target to be gradually phased in between next year and 2017.
The Regulation (EC) No 510/2011 requires Member States to record information for each new van registered in its territory. Every year, each Member State shall submit to the Commission all the information related to their new registrations. In particular, the following details are required for each new van registered: manufacturer name, type, variant, version, make and commercial name, specific emissions of CO2, mass of the vehicle, wheel base, track width, fuel type and fuel mode. Additional information, such as type approval number, engine power and engine capacity were also submitted.
The map shows the CDDA site centre points and countries where site centre points are public available, countries where some site centres are having restrictions and countries where site points have restrictions for all sites
The map is intended to show the distribution of site boundaries reported for nationally designated areas
To produce food in sufficient quantities, Europe relies on intensive agriculture, which impacts the environment and our health. Can Europe find a more environment-friendly way to produce food? We asked this question to Ybele Hoogeveen who is leading a group at the European Environment Agency working on the impact of resource use on the environment and human well-being.
Data compiled by EEA. At EU level, the data provided are total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (excluding emissions from LULUCF, including emissions from international aviation), which are consistent with the emission scope covered in the EU’s objective to reduce its GHG emissions by 20% compared to 1990 by 2020. At Member State level, the data provided are ‘non-ETS emissions’ (emissions covered under the ‘Effort Sharing Decision’ (406/2009/EC)). The Effort Sharing Decision sets national annual binding targets for emissions not covered under the EU emission trading scheme (ETS). These non-ETS emissions exclude emissions from LULUCF, emissions from international aviation and CO2 emissions from domestic aviation.
The European economy is still feeling the impact of the economic crisis that started in 2008. Unemployment and pay cuts have affected millions. When new graduates cannot find jobs in one of the richest parts of the world, should we talk about the environment? The European Union's new environmental action programme does exactly this, but not only. It also identifies the environment as an integral and inseparable part of our health and our economy.
Since 1980 the real price of transport fuel (all transport fuels, expressed as the equivalent consumption in unleaded petrol, corrected for inflation to 2005 prices) has fluctuated between EUR 0.75 and 1.25 per litre, with an average of EUR 0.96. Real prices per litre peaked in July 2008 at around EUR 1.25, but then fell by around a third later that year, largely due to a significant drop in the price of crude oil. Another peak occurred in April 2012 when fuel prices reached EUR 1.24. Since then fuel prices have fallen again. The average real price in May 2013 was EUR 1.14 – still significantly above the long term average of EUR 0.96. The price of fuel is an important determinant of the demand for transport and the efficiency with which fuel is used. However, despite rising real prices over the last two decades transport demand increased.
After 200 entries from 29 countries, the European Environment Agency (EEA) is pleased to announce five winners of the Waste•smART competition, which invited Europeans to produce a video, cartoon or photo on the topic of waste.
Season's greetings from EEA
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