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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / EEA-32 ammonia (NH3) emissions

EEA-32 ammonia (NH3) emissions

Note: new version is available!
Contents
 

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)

Justification for indicator selection

The agriculture sector is responsible for over 90% of NH3 emissions across the EEA-32. NH3 contributes to acid deposition and eutrophication which in turn can lead to potential changes occurring in soil and water quality. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. Eutrophication can lead to severe reductions in water quality with subsequent impacts including decreased biodiversity, changes in species composition and dominance, and toxicity effects. In many cases, the deposition of acidifying and eutrophying substances still exceeds the critical loads of the ecosystems (see EEA indicator CSI 005 'Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone'). Further details concerning emissions of acidifying pollutants are provided in EEA's Core Set Indicator CSI 001 'Emissions of acidifying substances'.

As a secondary particulate precursor, NH3 also contributes to the formation of particulate aerosols in the atmosphere. Particulate matter is an important air pollutant due to its adverse impact on human health, and NH3 is therefore also indirectly linked to effects on human health (see EEA's Core Set Indicator CSI 003 'Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate precursors ' for further details concerning emissions of particulate matter.

Scientific references:

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • The indicator tracks trends since 1990 in anthropogenic emissions of ammonia.
  • The indicator also provides information on emissions by sectors: Energy industries; road and other transport; industry (processes and energy); other (energy); fugitive emissions; waste; agriculture and other (non energy).
  • Geographical coverage: EU-27 for comparison with EU National Emission Ceilings Directive. Other analyses include data for EFTA-4 (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway) and FYR of Macedonia, Croatia and Turkey. The EEA-32 country grouping includes EU-27, EFTA-4 and Turkey.
  • Temporal coverage: 1990-2007

Units

ktonnes (1000 tonnes)

Policy context and targets

Context description

A number of policies have been implemented within Europe that either directly or indirectly act to reduce emissions of NH3. These include:

  • The National Emission Ceilings Directive 2001/81/EC (NECD) which entered into force in the European Community in 2001. The NECD sets emission ceilings for four important air pollutants (NH3, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs)) to be achieved from 2010 onwards for each Member State. The ceilings are designed to improve the protection in the Community of the environment and human health against risks of adverse effects arising from acidification, eutrophication and ground level ozone. The NECD is presently under review, the European Commission may adopt a proposal for a revised Directive during 2010.
  • The Gothenburg Protocol (1999) to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's (UNECE) Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention) to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone. A key objective of the protocol is to regulate emissions on a regional basis within Europe and to protect eco-systems from transboundary pollution by setting emission reduction ceilings to be reached by 2010 for the same 4 pollutants as addressed in the NECD (i.e. NH3, SO2, NOx, and NMVOCs). Overall for the EU Member States, the ceilings set within the Gothenburg protocol are generally either slightly less strict or the same as the emission ceilings specified in the NECD.
  • The Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (96/61/EC) entered into force in 1999.  It aims to prevent or minimise pollution to air, water or land from various industrial sources throughout the European Union. Those installations covered by Annex I of the IPPC Directive are required to obtain authorisation from the authorities to operate. New installations and existing installations, which are subject to 'substantial changes' have been required to meet the requirements of the IPPC Directive since 30th October 1999. Other existing installations must have been brought into compliance by the 30th October 2007. The emission limit values outlined in the permit conditions must be based on best available techniques (BAT). The Commission has been undertaking a review of the IPPC Directive and related legislation on industrial emissions and on the 21st December 2007 adopted a proposal for a Directive on industrial emissions. The proposal recasts seven existing Directives relating to industrial emissions (including IPPC and the Large Combustion Plant Directive (2001/80/EC) into a single legislative instrument.

Apart from the NECD and Gothenburg Protocol and the IPPC Directive, there is currently no other EU legislation proposed or in force specifically aimed at reducing ammonia emissions. However, several regulatory instruments have influenced EU emissions of ammonia from the agriculture sector since 1990, such as:

  • the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP);
  • the Nitrate Directive (91/676/EEC);
  • the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

These measures have had the indirect effect of changing agricultural practices across the EU, and have, for instance, led to a reduced use of nitrogenous fertilisers and to an overall decrease in cattle numbers, both of which affect the levels of ammonia emissions. The reforms of CAP, and specifically the removal of the link between farm production and payments, has also resulted in reduced livestock numbers across the EU-15 and hence also will have indirectly contributed to the decrease in ammonia emissions observed.

Targets

Emissions of NH3 are covered by the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) (2001/81/EC) and the Gothenburg protocol under the United Nations Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention) (UNECE 1999). The NECD generally involves slightly stricter emission reduction targets than the Gothenburg Protocol for EU-15 countries for the period 1990-2010. The Gothenburg Protocol entered into force on 17 May 2005, after ratification by 16 countries early in 2005.

Table: Percentage reduction (#) required by 2010 from 1990 levels by country, for emissions of NH3

 

1990 - 2010: NECD ceilings

1990 - 2010: CLRTAP Gothenburg ceilings

Austria

-7%

-7%

Belgium

-40%

-40%

Bulgaria

-25%

-25%

Cyprus

97%

-

Czech Republic

-49%

-35%

Denmark

-43%

-43%

Estonia

11%

-

Finland

-27%

-27%

France

-1%

-1%

Germany

-23%

-23%

Greece

-8%

-8%

Hungary

-27%

-27%

Iceland *

-

-

Ireland

6%

6%

Italy

-10%

-10%

Latvia

-6%

-6%

Liechtenstein

-

-27%

Lithuania

0%

0%

Luxembourg

28%

28%

Malta

56%

-

Netherlands

-49%

-49%

Norway

-

13%

Poland

-9%

-9%

Portugal

39%

67%

Romania

-30%

-30%

Slovakia

-40%

-40%

Slovenia

-17%

-17%

Spain

3%

3%

Sweden

6%

6%

Switzerland

-

-9%

Turkey

-

-

United Kingdom

-18%

-18%

 

# The actual 2010 emission ceilings specified in the NECD and Gothenburg Protocol are expressed as absolute emissions of SO2, NOx, NH3 and NMVOC (in ktonnes). For the purposes of this indicator 1990 is considered as a 'base year' and the percentage change to emissions to meet the ceilings is calculated. Reported emissions for past years may change reflecting e.g. updated and revised emission inventory guidance, and so the % reduction required to meet the CLRTAP and NECD targets as shown here may change slightly in the future.

 * Emissions data not available for Iceland.

Related policy documents

  • 1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone
    Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution 1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone.
  • Directive 2001/81/EC, national emission ceilings
    Directive 2001/81/EC, on nation al emissions ceilings (NECD) for certain atmospheric pollutants. Emission reduction targets for the new EU10 Member States have been specified in the Treaty of Accession to the European Union 2003  [The Treaty of Accession 2003 of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. AA2003/ACT/Annex II/en 2072] in order that they can comply with the NECD.

Key policy question

What progress is being made in reducing emissions of NH3?

Specific policy question

How do different sectors and processes contribute to emissions of NH3?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Indicator is based on officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe/Co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention), submission 2009. Recommended methodologies for emission inventory estimation are compiled in the EMEP/CORINAIR Atmospheric Emission Inventory guidebook, EEA Copenhagen (EEA, 2009). Base data are available from the EEA Data Service (http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/dataservice/metadetails.asp?id=1096) and the EMEP web site (http://www.ceip.at/). Where necessary, gaps in reported data are filled by ETC/ACC using simple interpolation techniques (see below). The final gap-filled data used in this indicator is available from the EEA Data Service (http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/dataservice/metadetails.asp?id=1058).

 This base data, reported in SNAP, draft NFR or NFR are aggregated into the following EEA sector codes to obtain a common reporting format across all countries and pollutants:

  • 'Energy industries': emissions from public heat and electricity generation, oil refining and production of solid fuels;
  • 'Fugitive emissions': Emissions from extraction and distribution of solid fossil fuels and geothermal energy;
  • 'Industry (Energy)': emissions from combustion processes used in the manufacturing industry including boilers, gas turbines and stationary engines;
  • 'Industry (Processes)': emissions derived from non-combustion related processes such as the production of minerals, chemicals and metal production;
  • 'Road transport': light and heavy duty vehicles, passenger cars and motorcycles;
  • 'Off-road transport': railways, domestic shipping, certain aircraft movements, and non-road mobile machinery used in agriculture & forestry;
  • 'Other (energy-related)' emissions principally occurring from fuel combustion in the services and household sectors;
  • 'Other (Non Energy)': non-combustion related emissions mainly in the services and households sectors including activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents;
  • 'Agriculture': manure management, fertiliser application, field-burning of agricultural wastes
  • 'Waste': incineration, waste-water management;
  • 'Unallocated': The difference between the reported national total and the sum of the sectors reported by a country.

The 'unallocated' sector corresponds to the difference between the reported national total and the sum of the reported sectors for a given pollutant / country / year combination. It can be either negative or positive. Inclusion of this additional sector means that the officially reported national totals do not require adjustment to ensure that they are consistent with the sum of the individual sectors reported by countries.

The following table shows the conversion of Nomenclature for Reporting (NFR) sector codes used for reporting by countries into EEA sector codes:

EEA classification

NFR Emission Source Category

0 National totals

National total

1 Energy Industries

1A1

3 Industry (energy)

1A2

2 Fugitive emissions

1B

7 Road transport

1A3b

8 Other transport (non-road mobile machinery)

1A3 (exl 1A3b)

9 Industry processes

2

4 Agriculture

4 + 5B

5 Waste

6

6 Other (energy)

1A4a, 1A4b, 1A4b(i), 1A4c(i), 1A5a

10 Other (non-energy)

3 + 7

12 Energy industries (power and heat production)

1A1a

14 Unallocated

Difference between national total and sum of sectors (1 - 10)

 

Methodology for gap filling

Methodology of data manipulation: EEA/ETC-ACC gap-filling methodology. To allow trend analysis where countries have not reported data for one or several years, data has been interpolated to derive annual emissions. If the reported data is missing either at the beginning or at the end of the time series period, the emission value has been considered to equal the first (or last) reported emission value. It is recognised that the use of gap-filling can potentially lead to artificial trends, but it is considered unavoidable if a comprehensive and comparable set of emissions data for European countries is required for policy analysis purposes.

Methodology references

Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

The use of gap-filling for when countries have not reported emissions for one of more years can potentially lead to artificial trends, but it is considered unavoidable if a comprehensive and comparable set of emissions data for European countries is required for policy analysis purposes.

Data sets uncertainty

NH3 emission estimates in Europe are more uncertain than those for NOx, SO2 and NMVOCs due largely to the diverse nature of major agricultural sources. It is estimated that they are around +/- 30% (EMEP, 2009). The trend is likely to be more accurate than the individual absolute annual values - the annual values are not independent of each other. 

Overall scoring: (1-3, 1=no major problems, 3=major reservations)

  • Relevancy: 1
  • Accuracy: 2
  • Comparability over time: 2
  • Comparability over space: 2

Rationale uncertainty

This indicator on emissions of ammonia is produced annually by EEA and is used regularly in its State of the Environment reporting. The uncertainties related to methodology and data sets are therefore of importance. Any uncertainties involved in the calculation and in the data sets need to be accurately communicated in the assessment, to prevent erroneous messages influencing policy actions or processes.

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

Martin Adams

Ownership

No owners.

Identification

Indicator code
APE 003
Specification
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Air pollution Air pollution

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Classification

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)

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