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CC_F03: GHG emissions - outlook from IIASA

Indicator Specificationexpired Created 17 Jul 2006 Published 08 Jun 2009 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
This content has been archived on 12 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated
Indicator codes: Outlook 031
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Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

There is growing evidence that emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global and European surface air temperatures to increase, resulting in climate change (IPCC, 2001). The potential consequences at the global level include rising sea levels, increasing frequency and intensity of floods and droughts, changes in biota and food productivity and increases in diseases. Efforts to reduce or limit the effects of climate change are focused on limiting the emissions of all greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol.

This outlook supports assessment of progress in reducing GHG emissions in the pan-European level to achieve the Kyoto Protocol targets as well as EU policies related to reduction of GHG emissions. It also helps to identify appropriate policy response options.

Scientific references

Indicator definition

Definition: This indicator illustrates the projected trends in national emissions of all greenhouse gases emissions for a selected scenario (combination of energy pathway and emissions control strategy), including current policy legislation and optimized scenarios. Greenhouse Gasses include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), perflourocarbons (PFCs), hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

The indicator also provides information on emissions from the main greenhouse gas emitting sectors: energy supply and use (including energy industry, fugitive emissions, energy use by industry and by other sectors); transport; industry (processes); agriculture; waste and other (non-energy).


Ownership: International Institute for Applied Systems

Temporal coverage: 1990 - 2030

Geographical coverage:  EU-27: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Czech republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia; By country: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Check Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany. Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal. Republic of Moldova, Romania. Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Swetzerland, TFYR of Mathedonia, Turkey, Ukriane, United Kingdom


million tons of CO2 equivalents

Policy context and targets

Context description

Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty -- the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. Recently, a number of nations have approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol, an international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases emissions world wide, entered into force on February 16th 2005. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol shares the Convention's objective, principles and institutions, but significantly strengthens the Convention by committing Annex I Parties to individual, legally-binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

To date most countries in the Pan-European region ratified the Kyoto Protocol, notably: Annex I: Belarus, Croatia,  Russian Federation, Ukraine, EU 27, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstien, Switzerland. Non-Annex I countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazhakhstan, Former Yugoslavian Republic Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey,  Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

31 countries and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the treaty.  The Individual Targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B. These add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.

The EU Commission's Progress Report towards achieving the Kyoto objectives in the EU and the individual Member States is required under the EU Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Mechanism (Council Decision 280/2004/EC concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community GHG emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol).


Pan European level
The majority of the countries in the Pan European region and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the Kyoto Protocol.  The individual targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B. These should add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.

EU level

For the EU-15 Member States, the targets are those set out in Council Decision 2002/358EC in which Member States agreed that some countries would be allowed to increase their emissions, within limits, provided these are offset by reductions in others.

The EU-15 Kyoto Protocol target for 2008-2012 is a reduction of 8 % from 1990 levels for the basket of six greenhouse gases. For the new Member States, the candidate countries, other EEA member countries, and other Annex 1 countries the targets are included in the Kyoto Protocol.

Overview of national Kyoto targets (reduction from base year levels):


Kyoto Target

Kyoto Target
Austria -13% Luxembourg -28.0%
Belgium -7.5% Malta -
Bulgaria -8.0% Netherlands -6.0%
Croatia -5.0% Norway 1.0%
Czech Republic -8.0% Poland -6.0%
Cyprus - Portugal +27.0%
Denmark -21.0% Romania -8.0%
Estonia -8.0% Slovakia -8.0%
Finland 0% Slovenia -8.0%
France 0% Spain +15.0%
Germany -21.0% Sweden +4.0%
Greece +25.0% Turkey -
Hungary -6.0% United Kingdom -12.5%
Iceland -10.0% 15 old EU Member
States (EU15)
Ireland +13.0% Belarus 0
Italy -8.0% Russian Federation 0
Latvia -8.0% Ukraine 0
Liechtenstein -8.0%

Lithuania -8.0%

Non-Annex I countries are not bound to such commitments and do not expect reduction of the GHG emissions.

The post 2012 climate regime will look different compared to Kyoto. In March 2007, the Council of the European Union decided that the EU would make a firm independent commitment to achieving at least a 20 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990. On 23 January 2008 the European Commission put forward a package of proposals that will deliver on the European Union's ambitious commitments to fight climate change and promote renewable energy up to 2020 and beyond. In December 2008 the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the package that will help transform Europe into a low-carbon economy and increase its energy security. The Package sets a number of targets for EU member states with the ambition to achieve the goal of limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times including: GHG reduction of 20% compared to 1990 by 2020 (under a satisfactory global climate agreement this could be scaled up to a 30% reduction); 20% reduction in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency, an increase in renewable energy's share to 20% and a 10% share for sustainably produced biofuels and other renewable fuels in transport.

Other related goals and targets:


- max global temperature rise of 2o (EC 6EAP and Councils), meaning global concentrations of less than 450 ppm CO2 equivalent

- for developed countries: 60 to 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (2004 Environment Council)

- global CO2 emissions should decline after 2025, by as much as 50% of 1990 levels (EC 2006 Green paper on energy)

Related policy documents

Key policy question

What is the projected progress in GHG emissions reduction?


Methodology for indicator calculation

The projections of the acidifying pollutants for this outlook are based on the GAINS (former RAINS) Model. Its European implementation covers 43 countries in Europe including the European part of Russia. GAINS estimates emissions, mitigation potentials and costs for six air pollutants (SO2, NOx, PM, NH3, VOC) and for the six greenhouse gases included in the Kyoto protocol.

The new GAINS model incorporates the latest version of the RAINS-Europe model (Regional Air Pollution Information and Simulation) as it has been prepared and reviewed for the CAFE programme and the 2007 revision of the NEC directive. Emissions of pollutants are calculated as a product of activity level, uncontrolled emission factor, removal efficiency of control technology applied in a given sector, and implementation level of that technology in a given emission scenario.

Overview of the GAINS model

The Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS)-Model provides a consistent framework for the analysis of co-benefits reduction strategies from air pollution and greenhouse gas sources.

The model considers emissions of:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Particulate matter (TSP, PM10, PM2.5 and PM1)
  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Certain versions of the GAINS Model also contain:

  • Ammonia (NH3)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases)

The GAINS Model consists of several screen options, which display information pertaining to:

  • Economic Activity Pathways
    activities causing emissions (energy production & consumption, passenger & freight transport, industrial and agricultural activities, solvent use, etc.)
  • Emission Control Strategies
    the evolution of emissions and control over a given time horizon
  • Emissions Scenarios
    emissions are computed for a selected emissions scenario (combination of energy pathway and emissions control strategy), emission factors, results displays, and input values are also available under this action
  • Emission Control Costs
    displays emission control costs computed for a selected emissions scenario
  • Impacts
    presents ecosystem sensitivities and human health impacts of air pollution
  • Data Management
    provides an interactive interface where owner-specific data can be modified, updated, exported, and downloaded

The GAINS Model simultaneously addresses health and ecosystem impacts of particulate pollution, acidification, eutrophication and tropospheric ozone. Simultaneously, the GAINS Model considers greenhouse gas emission rates and the associated value per ton of CO2 equivalence. Historic emissions of air pollutants and GHGs are estimated for each country based on information collected by available international emission inventories and on national information supplied by individual countries. The GAINS Model assesses emissions on a medium-term time horizon, emission projections are specified in five year intervals through the year 2030.

Options and costs for controlling emissions are represented by several emission reduction technologies. Atmospheric dispersion processes are often modeled exogenously and integrated into the GAINS Model framework. Critical load data and critical level data are often compiled exogenously and incorporated into the GAINS modeling framework.

The model can be operated in the 'scenario analysis' mode, i.e., following the pathways of the emissions from their sources to their impacts. In this case the model provides estimates of regional costs and environmental benefits of alternative emission control strategies. The Model can also operate in the 'optimization mode' which identifies cost-optimal allocations of emission reductions in order to achieve specified deposition levels, concentration targets, or GHG emissions ceilings. The current version of the model can be used for viewing activity levels and emission control strategies, as well as calculating emissions and control costs for those strategies.

 The The current version (June 2008) allows access to

  • the recent set of activity data and projections for all European countries that has been developed for the revision of the NEC directive,
  • computations of emissions, emission projections and control costs for the air pollutants (SO2, NOx, PM, NH3, VOC),
  • emissions, control measures and emission control costs of the optimized policy scenarios that are analyzed for the NEC review,
  • computation and display of concentration and deposition fields of selected air pollutants,
  • computation and display of health and environmental impacts of air pollutants,
  • emission inventories and projections for CO2,
  • estimates for the other greenhouse gases (CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, SF6).
  • Atmospheric dispersion processes over Europe for all pollutants are modelled on the basis of results of the European EMEP model developed at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (Simpson et al., 2003).Atmospheric dispersion processes over Europe for all pollutants are modelled on the basis of results of the European EMEP model developed at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (Simpson et al., 2003).

For more information see: (requires regstration)

Use of Scenarios

The GAINS model provides a number of Emissions Scenarios (combination of energy pathway and emissions control strategy). The most recent are scenarios developed for the NEC Rpeort #6 for revision of the NEC Directive as of July 2008. This group includes: - Current Policy legislation (i.e., current legislation, compliance with 2010 NEC ceilings in 2020, as well as the Commission proposals on the revision of the IPPC directive and EURO-VI), for - an energy projection that is consistent with option 4 of the Impact Assessment of the Climate & Energy Package, assuming redistribution of non-ETS targets, access to CDM (limiting carbon prices to €30/t CO2 in both the ETS and non-ETS sectors) and meeting the 20% renewable target in a cost-efficient way through trade, combined with the national perspectives on the development of the agricultural sector (C&E Package, current policy), - the NEC 2007 baseline energy projection, i.e., PRIMES baseline projection of November 2007 without further climate measures (NEC2007 baseline, current policy), Furthermore, the group contains the following optimized scenarios, i.e., cost-effective emission ceilings for achieving the environmental targets of the TSAP for - the Climate and Energy Package (C&E Package, OPTV5), - the Climate and Energy Package assuming no trade in renewable energy (C&E Package, no REN, OPTV5), - the Climate and Energy Package assuming (partial) implementation of the recent IMO agreement on emission controls for ships (C&E Package, IMOlight, OPTV5), - the Climate and Energy Package assuming full implementation of the Nitrate Directive (C&E Package + Nitr.Dir. OPTV5), - the Climate and Energy Package assuming that health impacts are only caused by primary PM2.5 emissions (C&E Package+PrimPM2.5, OPTV5), - the Climate and Energy Package for stricter environmental objectives as requested by the European Parliament (C&E Package, EP targets, OPTV5). Full details on these scenarios are available at the NEC report #6.

The predassessor model RAINS calculated global and European emissions for two categories of scenarios: 'current legislation'  and  'maximum technically feasible reduction' (MFR) scenarios.

The current legislation (CLE) scenario reflects the current perspectives of individual countries on economic development and takes into account the anticipated effects of presently decided emission control legislation. The 'maximum technically feasible reduction' (MFR) scenario outlines the scope for emission reduction offered by a full implementation of the best available emission control technologies.

Methodology for gap filling

The input data for GAINS/RAINS model comes from different international sources as main data sets. National data are used for verification of the international data sources, update and correction of scenarios.  

Methodology references


Methodology uncertainty

Ftor the RAINS model a methodology has been developed to estimate uncertainties of emission calculations based on uncertainty estimates for the individual parameters of the calculation (Suutari et al., 2001). In general, the uncertainties are strongly dependent on the potential for error compensation. This compensation potential is larger (and uncertainties are smaller) if calculated emissions are composed of a larger number of similar-sized source categories, where the errors in input parameters are not correlated with each other. Thus, estimates of national total emissions are generally more certain than estimates of sectoral emissions.

The uncertainty in input parameters showed that the actual uncertainties are critically influenced by the specific situation (pollutant, year, country). Generally, however, the emission factor is an important contributor to the uncertainty in estimates of historical emissions, while uncertainty in the activity data dominates the future estimates.

For more information see .

Data sets uncertainty

For more information see methodology uncertainty.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Anita Pirc Velkavrh


No owners.


Indicator code
Outlook 031
Version id: 1


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DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)

Related content

Data references used

Relevant policy documents

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100